Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The past several days have been extremely weird.

Anyway, here are some favourite quotes. From Roger Ebert's 1970 interview with Groucho Marx;

"You know, I don't believe in religion, or the hereafter. Not at all. I discussed the subject with Chico and Harpo a couple of years before they died. They said they'd get in touch with me if there were a hereafter. But you know what?" He examined the ash of his cigar thoughtfully. "I never heard a word. Not a goddamn word."

And from the Wikipedia entry on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining;

According to Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick called Stephen King during preproduction around 3 o'clock in the morning to ask "Aren't ghost stories really just an affirmation of an afterlife?" King did not necessarily agree. During the conversation, Kubrick asked flatly, "Do you believe in God?" King thought a minute and said, "Yeah, I think so." Kubrick replied, "No, I don't think there is a God," and hung up.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I don't think I got to sleep last night until 7am. I was filled with sort of a stupid energy most of the night--I felt like I was rushing along blindly through everything, while my intellect was somewhere way, far below. And that was before the Wild Turkey--though I only had a teensy, tiny bit of that and it was really only an attempt to slow myself down.

I didn't get very much done yesterday, though it was still a lot more solid work than I'd gotten done since finishing Kim, Kimberly, and the Snake. I've done a lot of work in my head in that time, which I do consider important. But this was the first time I'd put pencil to paper for this particular comic I've been dreaming about, and it was for concept sketches of the main character. This is going to be an ongoing series, somewhat like Boschen and Nesuko. Though I'm not entirely sure of the format it's going to take. Part of me wants to try a subscription service thing, to see if I can finally earn some money at this. Though another part of me says I obviously wouldn't earn enough for a living, so all it would accomplish would be to drive away readers.

I've also been thinking about simultaneously doing a smaller, black and white comic to submit to publishers. "But what about that mysterious comic you've been working on most of the year?" some of you more astute readers may ask. Well, I just received another rejection e-mail for that one. True, that only makes two (most of the people I've submitted to haven't gotten back to me), and the first rejection was actually worded in kind of an encouraging manner. But I've lost all kinds of steam for it. For one thing, it doesn't look nearly as good as Kim, Kimberly, and the Snake.

So I've done some sketches for this new project. I'm in the stage that is really the hardest part for me--world-building. This takes place in another fantasy universe, and I often get in an obsessive loop about how much world building I ought to do, where I ought to begin, and how do I sort it out . . . What kind of personality should this or that have, should this or that even have a personality; if it does, would it strain credibility, if it doesn't, will it be boring, should it be boring, yadda, yadda, yadda. All of which slows things down considerably. But I do find those ideas which are irrepressible tend to be among the best.

Last night, I hung out in New Babbage with Professor Nishi and her cohorts, Artemisia Paine and Jimmy Branagh. Or rather, I followed them around asking questions while at turns being threatened at gunpoint or warned against even sticking around. The Professor had some kind of accident with a pistol and a red blooded phantom in the upstairs of the museum, and then curiously forbade me, or anyone else (though I think I was getting the most stinkeyes last night), from investigating the matter.

After that somewhat disorienting and violent troupe logged off, I spent a lot of time clothes shopping. When I discovered I wasn't about to get to sleep at my regular time, and that I had several kilos of energy to burn, I played some Jedi Academy, where I finally got the model scale thing to work in multiplayer--by default, the game makes all player models the same height, supposedly because to do otherwise would grant an advantage to the taller characters. But it's just wrong to see Yoda the same height as Chewbacca.

Anyway, remember when Anakin was slaughtering Younglings in Episode III? Well . . .

Let's just say I think I beat his score.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am tired. I left the house at 1pm and didn't get back until 10pm. Most of that time was spent walking. See, my car's still not working, and I absolutely had to see No Country for Old Men. Since it's only playing in two cinemas in the county, seeing it necessitated taking the trolley to downtown and taking a very long walk up the hill to Hillcrest. The good news is it was worth it.

No Country for Old Men is a sweetly beautiful film. It pushed all kinds of the right buttons for me. It said with eloquence so much of what I was trying to say with Boschen and Nesuko. I may talk more about it later, but right now I'm damned tired.

I saw a lot of weird graffiti to-day. Entering downtown, I saw on the side of a building, "FUCK THE WORD." Then, as I was walking up the hill, I saw, spray-painted in pink lower-cased letters on an abandoned building's second storey window, "love is confused." At a construction site, a temporary wood wall bore the message, "What up, Enron?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Okay, I was obviously in a really silly mood yesterday, so I think I owe this blog some prettier pictures of the Dune sim I've been hanging out in with Caitlin (whose Second Life exploits are now the stuff of legend in the UK) and some other Fremen. These are some shots of the sietch. I'm barely visible at the top, too far away to see the 70s porno beard I've been sporting lately;

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stillsuit wedgie! I AM IN DESPAIR!!

(and now, an animation clip from Mr. Kumeta)

And my coffee is cold!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Watching Jean Cocteau's Orphee last night, I suddenly got a strong hunger for Italian food, so I went out at 3am hoping to find something vaguely Italian at Denny's. Since my car's still not working, I've been walking across the small lake/sewage thing between the house and a commercial area to get to Santee's one Denny's. Normally at night, the little lake area is pitch black, and I basically have to walk based on memory the path that leads to the little bridge and back up a hill. Last night, though, there was an amazing haze over the land. Too low to be a cloud, too high to be fog, everything around me was clearly visible as the haze caught the electric lights from the houses and parking lot and distributed it strongly everywhere. It was like the middle of the day, except everything was closed.

Nothing resembling Italian food at the Denny's, but there were a lot of people there who looked like they were in their early twenties, I suppose because it was Saturday night. With the strange light, it was like being on another planet.

I saw Beowulf on Friday. I liked it a lot. It borrowed some things from the Lord of the Rings movies, but I'm starting to think this is going to be inevitable for every fantasy movie for the next twenty or thirty years. Though I'd like to call a moratorium on spinning axes thrown directly at the screen.

Ray Winstone was excellent as Beowulf. The whole cast was perfect. I heard Howard Stern thinks Angelina Jolie looks better in cg, and I have to agree. Though for the most part, I'd have preferred the movie be live action. I love the design elements of the cg, like the strange, oil rich way the light touches everything, but it feels strangely like nothing has weight, like every time something falls, it's deliberately moving down. And what's interesting, is that it still doesn't look very much better than the Final Fantasy VIII trailer that blew socks off when I saw it at a computer store nine years ago.

The battle sequences are generally well done, the fight with the dragon at the end is great, mainly because the dragon's golden scales contrast beautifully with the snow. But the best thing about the movie is by far the story and the dialogue. So I think I'm going to enjoy the novelisation a lot more than the movie.

Eyes Wide Shut(1999)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

This is a beautiful movie about sexual appetite, how integral that appetite is to the workings of society and personal relationships, and what it means for a person to be dumb to the nature of sexuality. The movie shows Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) discovering that he knows almost nothing about how other people think about sex, how it figures into their lives, because he is, in some fundamental way, sterile. The flirtatiousness and gestures of lust that other people display are natural extensions of their genuine desire, while Bill employs these things like apparatuses unconnected to his desires. They are for him a mask he feels that he is expected to wear.

Every time I watch this movie I like it even more. I got the new DVD two weeks ago, and I watched it for the first time in a couple years, my previous viewings having been my VHS copy, and before that I saw the movie in the theatre. Those occasions all featured cg silhouettes added to the movie's notorious orgy sequence, but this new DVD finally gives U.S. audiences the version that the studio deemed U.S. audiences were too immature to handle*. As I'd heard, Eyes Wide Shut: UNCENSORED ain't all that smuttier, though they do restore a great deal of aesthetic value to Kubrick's compositions in these scenes. A confusing clutter of silhouettes and moving flesh has been transformed into fascinating, animated oil paintings;

The film is incredibly tight--there's not a single redundant or wasted moment. There are three discernable acts; the first act establishes Bill and Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) as a wealthy couple in a superficially normal marriage, and one senses already a certain coldness, perhaps not entirely unusual, as in the first scene where, as the couple are getting ready for a party, Alice asks Bill how she looks and she notes he tells her she looks beautiful without even looking.

"You always look beautiful," he says. The moment comes and goes quickly, though; the movie's not about anything so trite as Dr. Bill taking his wife for granted. It simply notes that perhaps he does in some way. But it isn't quite that simple. He does enjoy having sex with her, and he does seem to adore her.

This later scene, after the party, obtrusively features Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing" and as it begins with Alice looking in a mirror before Bill enters the shot, the scene feels as though it's from Alice's point of view. After their kissing becomes passionate, she gives their reflections a cold glance the meaning of which is revealed explicitly a couple scenes later, but which is perhaps hinted at by Isaak's accusatory lyrics; "You ever love someone so much you thought your little heart was gonna break in two? I didn't think so. You ever tried with all your heart and soul to get your lover back to you? I wanna hope so."

What follows is a montage of their individual, normal, sexless daily routines. The previously glamorously beautiful Alice looks plain and utilitarian with their daughter, while Bill attends to his patients with a superficial, pleasant bedside manner. Though one curious shot thrown into the montage without a break from Shostakovich's waltz on the soundtrack shows Bill treating a beautiful topless woman with his same, superficial bedside manner with which he treats a young boy.

But by this point in the film, we've already seen that Alice isn't the only woman whose beauty does not seem to strike Bill in any kind of involuntary manner. This aspect of his personality was clearly on display at Victor Ziegler's opulent party earlier in the film.

Alice and Bill are separated early in the party, and we see them each experience preludes to sexual adventures that never occur. Alice dances with a lecherous Hungarian (played by a man whom I'm certain was cast at least partially for his nose) and Bill is beset by a couple of flirtatious models.

Already there's an illustrative, albeit subtle, contrast between the two Harfords, as Alice responds to the Hungarian's advances with a natural warmth, her body seeming to engage with him of its own accord, while Bill is the affable brick wall which the models are swooning against. He replies to them with a perfunctory flirtatiousness, as though to do any less would be rude.

Soon, Bill's curiously null libido is brought to another dimension as he's called upstairs to assist Victor Ziegler with a beautiful prostitute who's ODed.

The sight of this woman in the strangely opulent bathroom does nothing to faze Dr. Bill, who's immediately all business. Mandy, the prostitute, on the other hand, seems, upon awakening, sort of astonished to see this beautiful man in front of her. And maybe a little perplexed by his superficial demeanour. This'll be important later in the film.

Victor Ziegler, on the other hand, doesn't seem at all surprised by Bill's behaviour. He does know him, after all--Bill's his personal doctor. Ziegler's played by Sydney Pollack, who gives the character a pitch perfect petulant banality, indicative of someone extraordinarily powerful, intelligent, and lascivious. This shot says a whole lot (mind you, this is his bathroom);

So it's the next night that Alice confronts Bill with feelings that we only heard before expressed in the form of Chris Isaak lyrics. They're smoking pot--and one might note that unlike Dianne Keaton's character in Annie Hall, they didn't need to do so before sex in order to enjoy the sex. The pot renders simplistic an argument the two have that starts when they discuss their respective encounters at the party. Alice becomes angry when Bill is utterly unperturbed by the fact that Alice was dancing with another man, a man who wanted to have sex with her, and she's also angry because Bill doesn't feel the least bit guilty about flirting with the two models.

The argument that emerges seems to be about sexism--Alice accuses Bill of believing that woman are incapable of lust, and he ascents to this--he asserts that he really does believe that "women just don't think like that," although he amends to this by saying that the argument's "a little oversimplified, Alice, but yes, something like that." What's happening here isn't that Bill's expressing his sexism, but that he's never really given it much thought. The two are slipping into a familiar, pop argument about stereotypical roles for men and women, not because it's what the conflict is really about, but because it's the closest argument Alice can find to fit her feelings. Partly because of the pot, and partly because of them have difficulty even conceiving of the true nature of the problem.

When Alice says that, according to Bill's own argument that men are more naturally lustful than women, she ought to be jealous of the attentions he was giving to the models, Bill responds that no, she needn't be, because he's an exception. He has to struggle for a moment before he can figure what it is that makes him an exception--he decides it's the fact that he loves his wife.

Bill's assertion that women are incapable of lust leads Alice to describe to Bill a fantasy she'd had about a naval officer she'd seen at a hotel when they were on vacation. She very convincingly describes a desire for sex with the strange man that was so strong that she was tempted to leave Bill and their daughter. The look on Bill's face as he realises she's telling the truth isn't one of jealous fury, and certainly not the shock of discovering that women are capable of lust. It's a look of horror, a look of a man who suddenly realises that someone he thought he knew totally is in fact a creature who is fully and fundamentally alien.

This is where the second act begins, as Bill's called away to see the family of a patient of his who'd died that evening. He goes out alone into the night, and what follows are a series of increasingly strange sexually charged encounters, none of which result in Bill having sex.

Throughout it all, he plays over and over in his mind an imagined scene of Alice with the naval officer. Is he tormenting himself, or is he trying to figure out what the image means, and what it's supposed to mean to him?

The number of sexual encounters Bill has in one evening defy credibility, which is perhaps why Kubrick shot all of it on a conspicuously artificial back lot and also why each of the encounters is in some way strangely dreamlike. The point here is for Bill to discover how other people regard sex, so, condensed into one night we have what one would more reasonably expect to be the findings of a few months.

The first encounter is with the daughter of the deceased patient, and Bill suddenly finds himself in the role of the naval officer; this woman strongly and convincingly conveys an attraction for Bill that is so strong that she's willing to throw away her fiancé and her normal life.

So Bill has his first hint that his wife is not unique. That it is not she who is the alien, but him. He embarks on the night's adventures to find out if he really is such an "exception". But it's important to note that he takes his first step rather passively.

A group of drunken young men he encounters on the street suddenly, and for no apparent reason, start laughing and yelling at him, calling him a "fag", and telling him to "go back to San Francisco". Already feeling something at a loss about his sexuality, perhaps this brash little episode is partly why he's so easily wooed by a prostitute's sales pitch. But it's hard to imagine Bill initiating a purely sexual encounter on his own under any circumstances--she captures him.

The prostitute, Domino, seems improbably perfect; she looks healthy, she seems like she genuinely enjoys her work, and her apartment, while poorer than the decadent homes otherwise seen in the movie, is unrealistically comfortable and warm, featuring the film's omnipresent drapings of Christmas lights.

Bill immediately drops into affable Dr. Bill mode, and she seems charmed by the fragility of his façade and the fact he doesn't know what he wants from her, asking her what does she "recommend". He's not trying to buy sex; he's trying to buy lust.

Interrupted by a phone call from his wife, he feels immediately compelled to flee the scene. This is one of many instances where Bill can't consolidate sex with other aspects of life.

But he can't go home yet. Running into an old friend at a nightclub, Bill finds out about a strange, secret party being held that evening. His friend, Nick Nightingale, gives him the password to get in, "Fidelio", and informs him he needs a costume; a tuxedo, a cloak, and a mask.

The party sounds to Bill like the perfect opportunity to get in touch with his lustful side, so he goes late-night costume shopping.

He witnesses the owner of the shop angrily discovering his daughter engaged in a bizarre liaison with two middle-aged Asian men. It seems human sexuality commonly reaches even stranger depths than Bill first suspected, and on this expedition on an alien world, this is the most alien thing yet. But not quite as strange as the masked ball;

Rich, ultra-powerful, ultra-jaded men attempting to find their own lust with an extravagantly odd ritual that dissolves into an orgy. As Bill wanders in this strange landscape, a woman asks him if he's been enjoying himself, and all he can think to say is that he's had "an interesting look around". He's completely out of his ken here; the scene is at the exact opposite of the sexual spectrum from Bill. One of the masked women seems to know this, and warns him that he's in incredible danger.

We later learn this is in fact Mandy, the prostitute who'd ODed in Ziegler's bathroom, so she does indeed know the limits of Bill's sexual appetite. Why is he in danger? Because when the men realise that Bill is an intruder, his innocence excites them. They force him to remove his mask and are about to take turns sodomising him until Mandy appears and offers to take his place. She knows that Bill is utterly unequipped to handle the experience. He's visibly terrified when he's ordered to take his clothes off.

The second act closes when Bill returns home to find Alice laughing in her sleep. She wakes and tells him she'd had a terrible nightmare, that she'd dreamed she'd been fucking several strange men, and that he saw her, and the sight of him made her laugh. This reinforces the idea that Alice is part of this strange, inherently sexual world around Bill, and it's also reminiscent of something she'd earlier, when she'd told him about the naval officer. After the officer had left the hotel, and she and Bill had made love, she'd said she'd felt a love for him then that was both "tender and sad". And now her dream of laughing at his exclusion from her orgy had seemed to her a nightmare.

At some level, Alice recognises that Bill is internally stunted. In some way, he's never really passed puberty, and the love she has for him is in a way both maternal and pitying. The meaning of the title, Eyes Wide Shut, becomes clear when we see that no matter how hard Bill tries to open his eyes to what appears to be nature for everyone else, it's patently impossible for him to see.

The third act is largely concerned with Bill's feeling that this strange world is hostile to him, and it further establishes his inability to consolidate sexuality with every day reality.

The day after his night of exploration, he returns to Domino's apartment, hoping what seemed to be the most innocent part of the night's exploits might yet yield the discovery he seeks. Instead, he finds only Domino's roommate, another prostitute, with whom Bill begins to make out, only to stop when the woman reveals to him that Domino had just discovered that she's HIV positive, and that's why she's not around. The revelation prevents Bill from consummating the sexual encounter with the new woman--try as he might, other aspects of reality continually override any would-be purely sexual urges. This is similar to the way in which the encounter with Domino had ended, only now there is a more sinister aspect.

He tries to find his friend, Nick Nightingale, who'd been playing an organ blindfolded at the masked ball. Bill goes to Nick's hotel, only to find out from the concierge that Nick had been in only briefly, that he'd had a black eye, and that he'd been accompanied by a couple of large men. A series of events leads Bill to feel threatened by the powerful men from the masked ball the night before.

The concierge is played by Alan Cumming in a cameo role. He flirts shamelessly with Bill, who's immune and in fact seems to not even notice. This is an important moment, as it tells us this movie's not about Bill Harford finding out that he's gay.

Bill soon learns that Mandy has died. He visits her corpse in the morgue, and there's an odd moment when, leaning over her body, we sense that he might be about to kiss her.

If it wasn't clear before, it's obvious now; Bill doesn't know what to do with his sexuality, and he doesn't have any clear idea of how it's supposed to coexist with other aspects of life.

Also, Mandy, as a prostitute and someone who, for him, as a potential patron, ought to mean nothing more than sex, symbolises something especially grim by being dead, perhaps for sacrificing herself in a scene that was supposed to be his sexual exploration.

A following scene where Ziegler, who was also at the masked ball, explains that Mandy's dead because she ODed, and that Nick Nightingale was safely back home in Seattle, is written like a pure exposition scene, but what it actually does is to make things a great deal less clear. Bill leaves only having Ziegler's word on a lot of things, and we the audience are left not knowing for sure whether or not anyone was murdered. That's fine**, because the important thing about the sinister atmosphere was to emphasis Bill's fear and his growing feeling of helplessness.

Coming home that night, Bill finds the mask he'd worn to the ball on the pillow next to his sleeping wife. We watch Bill's reaction change from shock, fear, and finally to complete breakdown as he collapses, crying in her arms. We never learn how the mask got there, or whether or not Alice had perceived any significance in its presence. The sight of it next to Alice is enough to finally cast his own nature into sharp focus for him and he's left feeling utterly helpless. He can only plead with her to rescue him by some means he cannot even imagine and which perhaps doesn't even exist. Of course, we never find out if Bill does find a way through.

In the final scene, in the safe surroundings of a toy shop where they're Christmas shopping for their daughter, Bill and Alice at last have the problem laid before them but find they have no idea what to do. They reaffirm their love for each other, but they can't say if it will be enough to save Bill or their marriage. That's a question no movie or work of art can answer.

*Having just seen Beowulf last night with an audience who sounded greatly disturbed by the sight of Angelina Jolie naked, I can't say I don't see the studio's point of view.
**And a little fun.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Last night I dreamt I was dating an ex-girlfriend of Bill Maher's. She was a vaguely Russian looking girl with black hair and round glasses. I took her to Disneyland, where I learned she was sort of brainless. For some reason, she kept referring to Italy as "Italia".

Disneyland had a food court in my dream, and looking at the menu of a Japanese restaurant I saw something called "David Cronenberg's The Frog". As much as I like Cronenberg, I couldn't see myself ordering that item in a million years.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I've been feeling pretty not so good after an accidental tequila binge a couple days ago and the resulting puke-athon. So how does one loose track of how many glasses of tequila one is drinking? This one did it by playing Jedi Academy. Or trying to get certain mods to work, anyway.

Here's kind of an interesting one I downloaded last night that the FireFly fans among you might appreciate. It's Serenity;

The galley. Not the strongest part--I missed the stencilled flowers on the walls. But the stove works. And yes, I was playing as Padme from Episode II. I'm sure all of you do weird things in private.

The corridor connecting the galley to the cockpit. I was disappointed the crew quarters were inaccessible, though I guess it would have been hard to make those slender wells. Still, it makes me think of the amazing Millennium Falcon mod I downloaded with detailed quarters and head, complete with Boba Fett toilet paper.

The cockpit. Not bad, but I feel like it ought to be darker.

The engine room looks slightly too small, but pretty good otherwise.

You can't fix what my lightsaber breaks, Kaylee!

The sickbay, or whatever it was called on FireFly. Seems like the lighting ought to be brighter. I was disappointed that Simon and River's quarters aren't accessible.

The cargo bay was definitely the best part. I only wish the shuttles were accessible . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two dreams last night. It's weird how they seem to come in pairs;

The first one was actually very similar to a dream I'd had before. It was a like a modification. In the old dream, I wanted very badly to see someone who was in Paris. I knew it would be an expensive journey, but I figured I could afford one day. So I took a plane, stopping briefly in London before reaching Paris, which I found to be a labyrinthine warehouse of cardboard boxes. I looked a while, but didn't find the girl I was looking for, so I flew back to London and wandered a bit.

London in my dream was composed of very short buildings--at least they appeared to be short on the outside, but the ceilings inside could actually be pretty high over my head. London was filled with chain link fences and neatly trimmed, flat grassy patches. It sort of reminded me of the scene in V for Vendetta where Finch visits the Larkhill camp, although there weren't any naked, dismembered corpses. Finally, I went home.

That was the old dream. The new version was the same, except I got stuck in London after coming back from France. No one was able to tell me why, but the planes weren't leaving. I wasn't able to find any place to change my money, so I wandered the streets, waiting, and it got dark. I started noticing enormous black tentacles with pink auras sprouting up from the ground, destroying the city, but people mostly weren't noticing them.

In my second dream last night, I was playing a game with a bunch of people. We all had mediaeval weapons--I had a dagger--and we were chasing each other around a place that sometimes seemed like a featureless, white walled rat's maze, and other times there seemed to be couches and furniture, like a house. Whenever a player caught someone, it was understood that one of the two would have to die. No one seemed bothered by this--it was part of the game.

I tackled a girl in a strapless, white taffeta dress with a wide, sash-like, dark gold belt with a metal, hoop buckle. I had her pinned to a couch, and I told her I didn't want to kill her.

"Oh, you have to," she said, smiling as though it was the most trivial thing in the world. "Just get on with it."

I ran my dagger across her throat, but not hard enough to break skin. I just left a little red mark.

"I really don't want to kill you," I said.

She sighed impatiently. "You have to, it's the rules. Look, how about you give me a really bad wound and I just get fixed up later. Okay?"

"I guess that would be okay . . ."

"Okay . . . Just stab me in the stomach, then. They can fix that."

"Okay." In my dream, it seemed perfectly reasonable.

"But don't stain my dress." She tore it open at the stomach, lifting the belt, and I stuck the dagger in her soft belly. She started coughing thickly, dark blood rolled out of her, and of course she died.

I went to prison. I didn't really care if anyone thought I was trying to kill her or not. I'd killed her, and it didn't seem to matter to me whether or not I'd meant to.

When did my dreams get to be so melodramatic? Sheesh. Well, I will say that I never actually felt too badly about what was happening. Believe it or not, I'm actually in a very good mood to-day.
I can never resist watching the end credits of this show;

Without subtitles;

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This morning I watched the first episode of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei (Goodbye, Despair Teacher). How I loved it. Even if the rest of the series ends up sucking (which I doubt), I'll always have this first episode to love.

The show's about a high school teacher named Nozomu Itoshiki (whose name can be pronounced as the Japanese word for "despair" when written horizontally) and one of his students, Kafuka Fura (whose name is a reference to Franz Kafka). Itoshiki sees everything in the most negative possible light, while Fura sees everything in a positive light, albeit because she's not the brightest bulb. As the show opens, Fura rescues Itoshiki from a suicide attempt;

Fura goes on to explain that she knows this is what Itoshiki was doing because she'd witnessed her father trying to become taller many times; when his company went bankrupt, when debtors came to the door, etc. Itoshiki was trying to hang himself from a cherry blossom tree Fura named "Pink CEO," so she calls Itoshiki "Pink Supervisor" from then on.

Everything in the show's done with great style, too. From another teacher having a sexual experience from a q-tip in her ear, to when Itoshiki decides, instead of having the students write down their hopes (a standard practice in high school classes), he wants them to write down their despairs. A nice joke is that many of the despairs students list are the same as commonly listed hopes.

The series is directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, seen here in one of the episode's censored moments;

Friday, November 09, 2007

Two "what the fuck" items for you, folks;

Apparently, Winona Ryder gave birth to Zachary Quinto when she was six. Remember, Spock's mom is human.

And, yesterday, I actually had a look at Anne Rice's web site. It opens with an endorsement for Hillary Clinton sprung from the depths of her Christly sterilised mind. A signifying paragraph reads;

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party.

How many levels of "What?!" are there in this statement?

I'd better go find some breakfast now . . .
Finishing off a bottle of vodka last night, I finished colouring Kim, Kimberly, and the Snake. As I've said before, I find colouring easy, just very, very time consuming. So I was quite capable of colouring inebriated, but I had to wait until to-day before I had the wherewithal to put together the site.

Anyway. It is here. If you've already read the first half, you can pick up where you left off by clicking here.

It was a pain in the ass, so please read it. Because, remember;

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lots of colouring yesterday. I took a long lunch, though, deciding to eat oatmeal, which seems to always take between thirty minutes and an hour to eat. And it still leaves me hungry a couple hours later. I logged onto Second Life at 7pm and was giddy with hunger by 9pm, maybe causing me to throw snowballs a little harder than I should have, and shouting things I didn't mean at the disapproving Professor Nishi, who is an oddly solemn figure in a snowball fight.

Earlier in the evening, I rode a chicken on desert planet and watched a girl fight a tiger using a worm tooth. Such is Second Life.

Anyway, I oughta get at that colouring now . . .

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

FireFox has a nifty spell-check feature now, putting red lines under words you type, exactly like Microsoft Word. Normally, I type my messages and entries first in Notepad, copy them to Word for a spell-check, then paste to the internets. I still do this, since Word's dictionary is better than FireFox's, but when I'm in a hurry, or when I didn't have Word on this computer, the browser's spell-check's nice to have. But its deficiencies are pretty interesting sometimes. To-day I found out FireFox doesn't know "homophobe." It suggested I change it to "homophone."

Since I had to be out of the house to-day, I walked to Barnes & Noble. I actually bought a book--the first edition hardcover of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was in the bargain section for seven dollars. I'd heard enough good things about the book I'd have felt foolish for passing it up, even though it could very well be years before I'm able to read it.

Usually when I buy a cheap book, I get this weird itch to buy another cheap book. Barnes & Noble has a cool assortment of classic works in hardback and I was tempted to get one of those. The strongest temptation was a big, twenty dollar book calling itself The Complete Illustrated Works of Oscar Wilde. It included illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. I knew, no matter how nice that sounds, that I just couldn't justify spending twenty dollars on a bunch of stories I've already read, some of them more than once. But, looking through the book, I was hoping I'd find something that would make me feel good about not having it. Unfortunately, I found that something. The collection omits the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray. I don't know how any self-respecting collection of Wilde's works can omit the greatest preface ever written.

Anyway. To colouring . . . It's weird how long this takes, huh?

Fiona Apple's so underrated;

I said, "Honey, I don't feel so good, don't feel justified. Come on put a little love into my void," -he said, "It's all in your head," and I said, "So's everything" - But he didn't get it - I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy.
I can has mazzive hedaek.

Yeah. It'll be a couple days 'til the comic's up.

Here's the most terrifying lolcat I've ever seen;

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I think someone really didn't understand the concept of lolcats. They're supposed to make you feel safe.

The white tiger. It is hunting me, I tell you . . . "I can has puny human" it sez.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Last night was a good night to be a Fremen in Second Life. Afterwards, I coloured until 4am. I'm hoping to have this thing done to-morrow, but the fact that the maids are coming might throw a monkey wrench into plan. What with having been staying at my parents' house, the fact that I've been tired from the initial push, and the feelings about missing the deadline I'd originally set for myself, I've sort of been avoiding the thing. But if it's not done to-morrow, it'll definitely be done this week.

So, I'd better get back to colouring now . . .

Monday, November 05, 2007

Kristen Gore, daughter of Al Gore, is writing what The Huffington Post describes as a "sex-crazed comedy." There are a lot of things I like about Huffington Post, but they have some of the most bone-headed headlines.

I liked Kristen's writing on Futurama, and this movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, features a plot where "Biel's character accidentally has a nail shot into her head, which elicits bizarre sexual urges." Sounds like a David Cronenberg meet cute. It has potential. But hardly that scandalous. I just love how, whenever a politician's involved, we all have to pretend like we live in the 50s.

Anyway, Happy Guy Fawkes Day, everyone.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I've been colouring. Part 2 of Kim, Kimberly, and the Snake ought to be done pretty soon. I've decided not to stress over it. Not that there's much to stress about after all the writing and drawing is done. I don't even have much in the way of palettes to come up with. It's basically paint by numbers now.

I've actually been catching up on Heroes, something I definitely wouldn't do if it weren't for the fact that episodes are viewable online. I'm up to the fourth episode of the season--gods, this show is cheesy. Sometimes it's So Bad It's Good, like Hiro in fuedal Japan, which is so, so clearly shot in Southern California. It's like the Errol Flynn Robin Hood without the ingenuity and beautiful camera work. And characters continue to do phenomenally stupid things, like Claire not telling her dad about her new boyfriend for no real reason at all, arousing his suspicions. Or super-powered Peter joining a gang of thieves--even getting one of their tattoos, because they have a small wooden box with his wallet in it, and he has amnesia (though he knows he has super-powers).

Still, some of the Sylar stuff I've been seeing lately has been enjoyable. I don't know if this guy's going to be an ideal Spock, but I do like him.

What's with all the Star Trek actors turning up on Heroes, anyway? Now there's a guy from Enterprise and Nichelle Nichols. It's like Gargoyles, another show unrelated to Star Trek and Paramount where Trek actors nonetheless started turning up in droves. Is there a secret Trek actor newsletter?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dreamt last night I was at Parkway Plaza mall, an indoor mall close to here, and I was about to leave the JC Penney's and go into the mall thoroughfare. But the doors were closed, and I didn't see anyone around, despite the fact that it was the middle of the day. The doors weren't locked, though, so I went on in.

I noticed the food court was barricaded with chairs and overturned tables, and I soon realised that there was an extremely agitated white tiger on the loose. I saw it beating the crap out of a bench, battering it was its big paws, and I remember thinking something like, "Gee, thousands of years of conventional wisdom is right--that thing does look dangerous."

The tiger chased me into the bookstore (though it's not a bookstore anymore. Even in my dream, the place that'd been B.Dalton for decades had turned into the temporary calendar store I know it's lately become in real life). I somehow managed to secure the door before the tiger could get inside. I went out the back, finding myself outside the mall, and I walked to the food court from another direction. I re-entered the mall finding no evidence that the tables and chairs had been overturned, and the place was filled with the normal, complacently grazing consumers.

After walking around a little while, the tiger suddenly leapt out from between a couple passers-by and pounced on me.

The second dream I had last night (or maybe it was the first) was that I was among a bunch of tourists in Victorian dress aboard a lovingly replicated ancient Grecian sailing vessel. Although we appeared to be on the open sea, I knew there was an underwater track conveying the ship, and that we were on a late nineteenth century Disneyland ride for The Odyssey. At one point, the track took the ship underwater, but no-one seemed much to mind.

I suppose it's not surprising I'd have such strange dreams after the night's overindulgences. I'd started with two glasses of vodka while watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The latter show put me in the mood for Nacho Cheese Doritos, something I haven't felt the slightest inclination to eat in years, though I used to love eating them in high school and college. So I walked rather quickly to the Food 4 Less, bought a large bag, and came back here to eat half of it while drinking more vodka and watching Planet Terror. I slept like the dead, but I woke up with a stomach that was very disappointed in my conduct.

My mother's going out of town, so I'm supposed to stay with my sister for the weekend. I'll be going over there shortly. First, here are two exceptionally strange videos I found on YouTube last night; Paul Anka covering "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Charlotte Church with Amy Winehouse covering "Beat It";

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shyness is nice.

Bleugh. I'm oddly restless. According to my regular, internal clock, and the number of hours I'd been awake, I ought to have gone to bed at 4am last night. Instead, I had this weird, ticklish wakefulness that lasted until 6am, and then I found myself unable to sleep past noon. Maybe it was all the sugar I had. Well, some might point out that the glasses of wine, the vodka, with the pot of coffee in the middle, might have had more to do with screwing up my brain.

I missed what sounds like a rather nice Halloween festival in Second Life's New Babbage because I was watching Suspiria with my sister and her boyfriend. That is a good movie for Halloween, since its odd, discordant sound effect soundtrack is pretty spooky just to be overheard by the trick-or-treaters.

Not much else did I do last night. One charming little item I forgot to mention about taking my grandmother to the ER a couple nights ago is that when we got in my car, it wouldn't start. I had to drive my grandmother's SUV, something I plan never to do again outside of an emergency situation. But my car's battery's just mysteriously dead (I guess it probably has to do with shutting myself away to work on a comic for weeks), so I'll be walking everywhere for a while. Not that I mind, really . . .

In the wee hours last night, I didn't do anything more extraordinary than Jedi Academy, where I participated in an underwater free for all involving five versions of Padme, three versions of Yuna (from Final Fantasy X and X2), three of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Jack Skellington;