Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mortimer's Horrible Reanimation

Twitter Sonnet #127

Strawberry's haemorrhaging from the yoghurt.
Coffee clouds roll black in porcelain crater.
Floor's sticky with linoleum alert.
The fake 50s food always comes later.
The virgin pillow bride wore a white gown.
Easter candy fills an hour abscess.
Wal-Mat's chocolate bunny sickens a town.
Jehovah locked up His magic princess.
Lounging senators guard limes and salsa.
Suddenly there are only old cups here.
Barbaralla's come too late for NASA.
A singing tugboat has no real world peer.
You're touching a rodent soul trapped by Faust.
Doomsday will show there's just one kind of mouse.

I was in the middle of pencilling to-day's page when I reached over to adjust the volume on the computer and I found my mouse cursor had frozen. The computer worked fine otherwise, and since the mouse's sensitivity had been decreasing for months, I figured I needed a new mouse. So I went to the mall, where I could get some lunch in the food court and get a new mouse at Best Buy. I figured the ordinary, corded mouse I wanted would cost around twenty dollars, which is what my computer gamepad had cost.

Instead, I found the aisle filled entirely with wireless and cordless mice (I'm not sure what the difference is) ranging in price from thirty to eighty dollars. I saw one ridiculous looking thing with evil green eyes, its name written in a slimy, horror movie font that was difficult to read--it was either "Pathfinder" or "Deadfinder". The only corded mouse--there was only one--was a forty dollar Logitech number. What the fuck kind of scam is cordless mice, anyway? Who needs that much space to move their mouse around? Meanwhile you have to replace the batteries every now and then. For what? Am I turning into Andy Rooney? Fuck.

Anyway, I bought the damn mouse and came back with it to find it wouldn't work. A few frustrating minutes of irritating experimentation revealed it was in fact the port that had crapped out on me. So now I'm down to one USB port, which means I'm going to have to unplug the mouse whenever I want to plug in my camera, iPod, or gamepad. I have a card with USB ports somewhere around here, but it's going to be a couple of days before I time to wrestle with the computer to see if there's room in it for that. The mouse, though, is working great now and it's been a long time since I had a mouse this sensitive at my command. I haven't plugged the old one into the remaining functional port and I'm just telling myself it would work like shit and I still made a good choice getting this new mouse. It must be so.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fate and Curses

Last night's tweets;

The virgin pillow bride wore a white gown.
Easter candy fills an hour abscess.
Wal-Mat's chocolate bunny sickens a town.
Jehovah locked up His magic princess.

Obviously that first tweet is a reference to the South Korean man who married his pillow recently;

Tim showed me some pictures yesterday of the ceremony where the guy had put a white dress on the pillow. Though I'm afraid the pillow probably isn't a virgin. At least, I hope not. If you can't get any action out of a pillow bride, that's really sad. But I guess this story's plenty sad already.

The character on the pillow is Fate Testarossa, a name that immediately caught my imagination when I heard it yesterday. I started imagining a film noir where this guy's pillow gets stolen and no-one takes him seriously, however much he pleads, except one female police detective. The two work hard trying to track down the pillow and she starts to fall in love with him . . . But, although he starts to naturally reciprocate the feelings, his conscience won't allow him to betray Fate. Damn, it writes itself.

Last night I watched a 1980 production of Das Rheingold. It was very nice to see the opera performed and with English subtitles, though I wish I could've gotten my hands on a copy where the players wore period appropriate costumes. In this case, everyone's wearing what looks like clothes of the period in which the opera premiered (1869), which wasn't so bad. At least Wotan actually carried a spear and I loved the stilts and long, false arms Fasolt and Fafner wore.

It was strange reading of the bombing in Moscow a couple days ago while I happen to be at the place in War and Peace dealing with the 1812 Fire of Moscow during Napoleon's occupation of the city. The Wikipedia article mentions War and Peace;

Tolstoy, in War and Peace, suggests that the fire was not deliberately set, either by the Russians or the French, but was the natural result of placing a deserted and mostly wooden city in the hands of invading troops in summertime, when fires start nearly every day even with the owners present and a fully functioning police department, and that the soldiers will start fires–from smoking their pipes, cooking their food twice a day, and burning enemy's possessions in the streets. Some of those fires will inevitably get out of control. Without an efficient Fire Department, these house fires will spread to become neighborhood fires, and ultimately a city-wide conflagration.

Which is in line with much of Tolstoy's main argument in the book--that big, historical events are usually totally beyond the deliberate control of any leader, that the individual motives of various people at all levels of society are too diverse and chaotic to predict. Which seems an appropriate observation for the terrible bombings from a couple days ago--and for really all terrorist attacks in the modern age. They're almost completely impossible to predict or prevent, and they never seem to accomplish anything constructive for the perpetrators. It makes me think of Tolstoy's perspective on war being absurd and grotesque--a disconnected thing with delusional leaders at one end and senseless loss of life at the other.

From an earlier segment on The Battle of Borodino;

Neither Napoleon nor any of his generals had ever before seen such a ghastly spectacle, or so many slain in such a small area. The roar of guns, which had not ceased for ten hours, wearied the ear and gave a special significance to the scene (like music accompanying tableaux vivante). Napoleon rode up to the hilltop at Semyonovsk, and through the smoke saw ranks of soldiers in uniforms of unfamiliar colours. They were the Russians.

The Russians were drawn up in serried ranks behind the knoll and village of Semyonovsk, their guns booming incessantly and filling the air with smoke all along the line. It was no longer a battle: it was a protracted slaughter, futile for both the French and the Russians.

Napoleon pulled up his horse and again sank into the brown study from which Berthier had roused him. He could not stop what was going on before and around him, an enterprise ostensibly led by him and dependant on him, and for the first time, because of its lack of success, it struck him as unnecessary and appalling.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Animal Tasks in Old Places

Last night's tweets;

Strawberry's haemorrhaging from the yoghurt.
Coffee clouds roll black in porcelain crater.
Floor's sticky with linoleum alert.
The fake 50s food always comes later.

The directions I'd gotten apparently via pay phone (I couldn't reach her by calling back, anyway) from my grandmother's friend indicated that she would be waiting "In front of the old chapel". When I got to the place, across from Balboa Park, I found at least six buildings that looked like old chapels, so I spent a lot of time wandering around the oddly deserted old buildings. It felt like the first graveyard scene in Vertigo.

I also chased a large, slow squirrel up a tree;

Music's by Ennio Morricone from the Once Upon a Time in the West soundtrack.

I had to pee really bad, so we stopped at Balboa Park so I could use the rest room. There I took a picture of this over 100 year old ficus with a trunk that's 42 inches around;

I remember it from field trips when I was a kid.

I finally got the new Venia's Travels script written at Denny's later in the evening, so I came home, put some sake on the stove, and logged onto Second Life. I couldn't find anyone to play chess with, so I just wandered SL. I came across this big sparrow pecking at the ground;

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beautiful Boron

Twitter Sonnet #126

Ellis Island expands in a red pan.
Communist rain falls on Gothic racists.
In a tuba is just a tiny man.
The Fool city is filled with bicyclists.
Repent for a floating ball of damp sin.
Han just received our transmission of Tang.
Saruman's breeding ducks with goblin men.
Stay Puffed Marshmallow man changed everything.
Warm turtle necks stay longer than fake suns.
Batman games will see us bounce from the wall.
Superhero tights will not hide the runs.
Grey painted nature on ceilings tells all.
Big trees are ripe for breaking by children.
Adults suck off Ents for the best aspirin.

It seems every day I'm always running out of time. At least to-day I can point to my grandmother's friend unexpectedly calling me needing a ride from downtown to-day. But somehow without me quite knowing how it happened, it's already after 9pm and I haven't even started on the new Venia's Travels script.

My interest has been really piqued by the trailer for Luc Besson's upcoming The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec;

The pterodactyl sound effect seems to be exactly the same one used for the dragons in Warcraft II and the imps in Doom. I'm wondering if this is some kind of Wilhelm scream phenomenon.

Anyway, because of this trailer I finally decided to watch The 5th Element last night. I'd expected to find a very Blade Runner influenced film, since that's how people have usually described it to me, but I was surprised to find something much closer to Barbarella, a relaxed fantasy with a sort of pretence of tension with a plot about the wonderful power of love. I find it actually a bit perplexing The 5th Element doesn't contain more gratuitous sex and nudity than it does because I'm not sure what the point of the movie is otherwise.

I didn't really hate The 5th Element, at least not as much as some other movies. The opening scene made me think I was really going to love it, when a bunch of interesting, not cg robots storm an Egyptian temple. And the cast borrows great actors liberally from Terry Gilliam movies--John Neville, Ian Holm, and Bruce Willis.

So I will say The Fifth Element is about exactly as good as Star Wars: Episode I. This might produce some anger from the many people who hate Episode I while considering The 5th Element a Sci-Fi classic. I'd like to refer now to the amusing review of Episode I by Red Letter Media that's been making the rounds on a lot of entertainment sites. I suspect most of you have already seen it--I was a little late to the party only having watched it last week. But while I enjoyed it, I actually got something a bit different out of it than the guy on AICN who linked to it recently and said it pointed out awful things about the movie he hadn't even noticed yet. For me, it actually made me remember good things about the movie, despite Red Letter Media's invariably negative take. I disagreed with him on some points, particularly in his assertion that Palpatine's plan doesn't make sense in that by helping the Trade Federation as Darth Sidious, he's effectively working against himself. Rather, I think this was a reflection of Palpatine's cunning, that he would throw his weight behind a faction designed to fail, fucking over everyone on his side. I also think it's worth noting that there are a lot of beautiful visuals in Episode I, and though I agree the sabre battle lacks the character intimacy of the original trilogy's sabre battles, Darth Maul's still pretty bad ass and it's fun to watch him do his thing.

But anyway, a lot of Red Letter Media's criticisms of The Phantom Menace are actually quite applicable to The 5th Element. For one thing, The Fifth Element stars indistinct characters. I think if we applied Red Letter Media's prompt to describe characters without mentioning what they look like and what their jobs are, we'd find descriptions of Bruce Willis' character at least as vague as the Qui-gon Jinn descriptions Red Letter Media got. Dallas is good . . . he wants to get with the girl . . . he's reluctant to get involved sometimes. He's basically just Bruce Willis.

The best part of the movie is Milla Jovovich's adorable performance as Leeloo. But aside from being adorable, there's pretty much nothing to her. Gary Oldman's villain is an interesting premonition of George W. Bush, but it's hard to take him seriously, especially after Ian Holm calls him a monster after Oldman's almost choked to death on a cherry after holding forth on some moronic, meaningless loop-de-loop philosophy on destruction--Basically, that we need destruction so we can create so that's why he's working with the big, burning Evil Egg that wants to destroy the world. The only thing that makes him threatening is that he remembers to use a gun while fighting Milla Jovovich, unlike the normally well armed alien goons who for some reason decided to fight the pretty little kung fu master hand to hand.

All this silliness might be fun if the choreography was interesting, but it's followed by a big moral lesson about how humanity is too destructive. Jovovich's character, Leeloo, is learning English throughout the film with the help of a computer taking her through the language alphabetically and late in the film she's horrified to find out about war when she gets to W. Which made me wonder how the computer handled entries on nuclear power, genocide, and torture.

Everything about the movie feels half formed, like ideas that weren't fleshed out, and I get this feeling like I'm expected to do a lot of the work for the film, like it expects to be loved just for showing up and there's something wrong with me for not getting it. A good example is Chris Tucker's radio personality character, who hijacks Bruce Willis' vacation on a pleasure ship to interview him while he's there. Watching Tucker, I imagined the filmmakers lounging about an office conceiving his character, "Oh, he'll be this great, outrageous fellow!" "Yes, and he'll say outrageous things." "Oh, and everyone will say, 'I can't believe how outrageous he is!'" "Yes! He'll say outrageous things like . . . Oh, I don't know, but they'll be outrageous!"

So leading Willis through Space Opera House, he breezily points out how that famous fellow over there is deaf, so he probably won't get much out of the opera. Oh, no he didn't!

The films filled with lines that sound like they were written by someone who can't speak English very well. You could say this just so happened to be the dialect hundreds of years from now, but it really doesn't come off that way, and it's annoying. As when Jovovich jumps off the side of a building and a policeman says, "She dove off!" It's especially annoying when the movie clearly expects us to laugh at something totally flat, like a policeman taking two sodas from his partner because--get this--he's really thirsty!

When the ragtag team of barely defined five characters convene on a small ship near the end to save the world with love, I realised a good way to describe The 5th Element would be to ask someone to imagine a mentally impaired child who really loves Star Wars describing Star Wars for two hours.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bridge Crossings

Last night's tweets;

Repent for a floating ball of damp sin.
Han just received our transmission of Tang.
Saruman's breeding ducks with goblin men.
Stay Puffed Marshmallow man changed everything.

I beat Super Metroid last night after playing it obsessively every night for about a week. It always takes me by surprise when an old Nintendo game manages to actually suck me in without being just a nostalgia trip. It's still a much smaller feeling game than Metroid II though.

I also watched The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I'd gotten to thinking about it after Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie--his March Hare being reminiscent to me of the 1951 Disney version of the character got me thinking about what a big influence The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was on Burton's Sleepy Hollow. Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow are, to me, by far the best Tim Burton movies of the past eleven years. Yet I have to say the 1949 animated short is far superior to Burton's film.

The Mr. Toad segment features some wonderfully inventive slapstick sequences, Eric Blore is perfectly cast as Toad, and Basil Rathbone is an excellent narrator, but it's not half as good as the latter segment. Both segments reflect Disney's low wartime budget, lacking really any dynamic shading--most of the time, characters' skins are coloured with a single, solid colour. But Ichabod Crane is so wonderfully strange, with five or six separate creative momentums colliding into a very curious treat. At the centre of which is Ichabod Crane, who's selfish and looks bizarre, yet somehow has our sympathy. The story plays into the subconscious belief in mechanisms of the world behaving in harsh and almost mysterious ways--Basically, Crane gets more punishment than he deserves, but we're forced to ask ourselves if we're wrong about what's just, or if justice is in essence something alien and cruel.

The story also has ingenious cartoon slapstick, but that logic of animated physical comedy somehow comes off as more frightening than funny in the last portion of the segment, which I remember also being the case when I watched it as a kid. The Headless Horseman is somehow genuinely threatening.

The physical routines also work well and strangely earlier in the film as we're trying to sort out just what sort of specimen this Ichabod Crane fellow is. He and Brom Bones aren't exactly Popeye and Bluto--Crane's an interloper, and he doesn't have any "good guy" right to the love of Katrina. Brom Bones, while mischievous, isn't necessarily a real bad guy, and Katrina, unlike perhaps any other Disney beauty, appears to be completely amoral--innocently amoral. She has no problem letting these guys fight over her, flattering her vanity, but at the end of the day she wants to settle down in domestic tradition. Instead of just being the loser, Crane suffers an incredibly cruel fate, and this Disney film somehow manages braver horror than Tim Burton's gone for with any of his films, with the exception of Sweeney Todd.

Bing Crosby's laid back narration and singing rather seamlessly work to offer up this tale, too, which is not something I'd have predicted. It really is a strange work.

"Cuts Through You Like a Hot Machete Through Butter"

Oh, gods, I miss Artie Lange. I meant to go to bed twenty minutes ago but I got caught up laughing hysterically at clips on YouTube.

Friday, March 26, 2010

No East is Far Enough

Twitter didn't delete my tweets from last night!

Ellis Island expands in a red pan.
Communist rain falls on Gothic racists.
In a tuba is just a tiny man.
The Fool city is filled with bicyclists.

Still I have a massive headache, so this seems like a good time to post Part 2 of The Venia's Travels Costume Post Extravaganza! You know, it seems like people used the word "extravaganza" ironically all the time for a while, and it's fallen into disuse. I would like to reignite faux extravaganza mania, so here we go, hold on to your sombreros . . .

Based on some formal eastern European dresses, I was really happy with this outfit Venia wore for one chapter and that was barely visible because she was wearing a big fur cloak the whole time.

Everyone was in their short lived winter garb in Chapter 39, beginning the real Niverikiin look for me, which is a mix of Byzantine and 19th century eastern European hodgepodge.

I decided the more formal the clothing, the more antiquated it would look, which was why Venia went from 19th century to ancient Rome to Byzantine Empire in the space of three chapters.

I dropped the weird little apron thing when I added the red and green palla.

Then came the big headache of Chapter 43, where I had to design new clothes for everyone along with the fifty million other things I had to come up with for that chapter. Venia's look in the chapter is kind of an odd throwback to her less mature outfits of the early chapters, which was an unconscious decision I thought turned out to be rather appropriate.

I think of Wircelia's look as "Kikuchiyo by way of gypsy."

A lot of times, my creative process involves trying to reach one thing using the rules of another--the Niverikiin words are usually attempts to create a Russian sound using Japanese rules, and as I said, the look of a lot of the comic is based on my impression of 1930s and 19th century medieval. I go through self imposed filters and then I tweak.

Kakeshya's new silver plate mail is pretty standard late medieval full plate;

You may have noticed I haven't been giving the women breast plates with "boob socks," or sculpted breast shapes. Obviously this isn't because I'm not a pervert. It's also not because I think such designs are illegitimate, it's just I see the Everi Paladins as being too practical--a cuirass with a big cavity in the middle isn't as good at deflecting blows. But considering some Roman breastplates were moulded to look like a muscular chest and abdomen, I'm not one of those people who thinks armour for women shaped to look like a second, R-rated skin is purely fantastical. It's just not the kind of thing Everi Paladins would do. See? I don't always go for salacious.

Finally, here's Venia's current outfit;

I changed the shoes because I noticed some of the strappy, Byzantine shoes I was looking at were reminiscent of ballet slippers and I figured this would be a good time for a The Red Shoes reference. And the hat, well, I decided it was just high time Venia had a cool hat.

Anyway, remember, there's a new Venia's Travels to-day.

Venia and the Gratuity

The new Venia's Travels is online. Lots of nudity this time. My head is killing me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Million Angry Dollars

Looks like Twitter's deleted several days' worth of my tweets, but here's

Twitter Sonnet #125

Sugar of Toucan's cry permits no peace.
Twitter swallowed three of my last night's tweets.
Sparkling haze made it dizzy and obese.
Screaming warnings, the traffic monster eats.
Burning laughs are digested to money.
Anger boils beds in Gestapo porn.
Look what they did, marone, they shot Sonny.
Nasal vampires earn a stapler's scorn.
Some day, there'll be no suckers left to hate.
Many fear being first to a stop sign.
Laughing asphalt has forever to wait.
Disputed chow mein in the car is mine.
Words are lost in digital dark matter.
Bits are obliterated by batter.

To-day I read Devin Faraci's reaction to Kevin Smith's recent twitter tirade about movie critics. I agree with Faraci's take whole heartedly here. Having witnessed Smith's tweets as they were happening, I remember wincing and hoping his wife would drag him away from the keyboard. I like Kevin Smith, I like most of his movies, and I can understand him being sensitive about something he's worked on. But the solution for him is to not read reviews at all. The solution is not to go to relying exclusively on random people on the internet to review his films. Is he the last guy in the world to read the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory? If he thinks professional critics are harsher and less thoughtful than the denizens of Twitter, he's snorting Kool-Aid. Really, what he wants is to back up from the big arena he's in now and lock himself in an echo booth with his most loyal disciples. His ego's cracking under the pressure--that's it. Some people can't handle being received poorly by a lot of people. There's not really any shame in that, but the way he's handling it isn't doing himself any favours.

I've said this before, but I feel critics are themselves artists of a kind. It's not so much that their opinions are more valid as that good critics are better at expressing those opinions, can draw on a wider knowledge of the medium in discussing it, and can ably expand upon intellectual and emotional prompts presented by a movie. In essence, a good critic, to me, both supplements my digestion of a film (mmm!) and helps me decide whether or not to spend my money on a movie, establishing their trustworthiness on the task by demonstrating the reliability of their opinions over time and, to some extent demonstrating an intelligence about that which he or she is speaking. To do this properly, one needs to be educated about, and devote a great deal of time to watching, movies--it's a full time job, therefore one for which one needs to be paid.

That's a rational argument I've just made, but if Smith were reading this, I know it'd be more useful to suggest that he smoke some pot or make out with his wife.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Big Mumble

Last night's tweets;

Twitter swallowed three of my last night's tweets.
Sparkling haze made it dizzy and obese.
Screaming warnings, the traffic monster eats.
Burning laughs are digested to money.
Anger boils beds in Gestapo porn.
Look what they did, marone, they shot Sonny.
Nasal vampires earn a stapler's scorn.

I watched the Rifftrax of Twilight: New Moon a couple nights ago. Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy were even funnier than they were with the first Twilight movie, and I think New Moon may have been even worse than the first film, though it's kind of hard to say. I will say New Moon generally looks better than the first film, as director Chris Weitz apparently doesn't share Catherine Hardwicke's affinity for incessant colour filters and, although there are no interesting compositions, it's hard to make this scenery look bad;

Particularly as all that green's allowed to come through. Though Edward Cullen's makeup looks even more ridiculous without the blue filters.

I guess there could be something a bit gauche about a bunch of guys making fun of something that's basically masturbation fodder for teenage girls, but surely teenage girls can do better. I'm not saying fanservice has to come with an important message or challenging ideas, but when a story basically amounts to a boring POV girl choosing between two hot guys who are into her for no apparent reason, it doesn't have to take itself so damned seriously. That's what really bugs me, that Bella standing between two models fighting over her because they think she's hot and she won't commit to either because she thinks they're both hot is treated like the most sober reality in the world. Mike, Bill, and Kevin kept making jokes about how Bella was leading on the werewolf guy for some "unreciprocated validation", and I thought of the line in The Dresden Dolls' "Shores of California" about girls wanting a "fickle little bitch romance." There's a scene where Bella's seen clearly choosing the werewolf beefcake over some nerdy guy from school and I actually had a moment where I thought, "If Bella's supposed to be so deep and wonderful, why is this a no-brainer for her?" The thing is, I don't mind movies about beautiful people digging each other. When two actors put in all kinds of time exercising and getting their hair and face done, and cinematographers go to great pains to make them look good on camera, what you're look at is beauty put together as a gift of sorts to the audience. As Oscar Wilde said, those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming--beauty is beauty, and it's natural and good to appreciate it.

So this brings me back the debate about Howard Stern's comments regarding Gabourey Sidibe and how she won't have an easy time finding work in Hollywood. On Monday's Stern Show, Howard played a bunch of different clips of newscasters and television personalities reacting to his comments and Robin Quivers said something about how these are the people who made everyone miserable in high school and now they're pretending to be nice.

At first, I wasn't sure what she meant, but I think I get it now. This is why they don't think it's enough to call Gabourey Sidibe beautiful, it's why they also have to suppress anyone who suggests she isn't. Because they don't believe it themselves. They're full of shit.

This is why Kirstie Alley and Whoopi Goldberg don't see the hypocrisy in immediately criticising Howard Stern's looks in retaliation, as though Stern has some delusion that he's beautiful and isn't partly famous for ridiculing his own appearance. These people can't simply say that whether or not Gabourey Sidibe is beautiful is by definition a superficial matter, because these are superficial people. So one can understand how there are people who think these good looking Twilight kids are in the middle of a truly serious drama despite the fact that they have zero chemistry. Physical appearance is all that matters, and if someone is to be accepted, we have to accept that they're pretty, regardless of whether or not they are.

And that's why Stern's absolutely right in saying Sidibe won't have a good career as a leading lady--because any decent filmmaker is going to see far enough past bullshit to cast actually attractive people in roles for attractive people, and most people want to make and see movies featuring attractive people. A couple people brought up examples to argue against Stern of fat actors who had successful careers in lead roles--John Goodman, John Belushi, Chris Farley. As Stern said in reply, these people were all successful because they're comedic actors, but I would add that someone like John Goodman's success, or Eugene Pallette's or Charles Laughton's, is based on the character suggested by their large size. The reason fat people work well in comedy isn't necessarily because fat is funny, but because fat comes as automatically more real, because most people aren't as beautiful as Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson. The charm of good heavy actors is that they illustrate there's more to value in humanity than physical appearance. Which is not something teenagers typically understand.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Under the Gravity of a Stale Water Balloon

I see three of my tweets from last night have disappeared. Here's the only survivor;

Sugar of Toucan's cry permits no peace.

I can't for the life of me remember the rest of them. I think I said something about Wayne Gretzky and a ladle. I'm too tired to think of another three right now. Which I guess means I'll tweet seven more in a couple hours, when I'm even more tired.

A guy tearing up the back porch all morning kept me up. Brought me out of some strange dreams. I dreamt I was in a Jaws movie and I was working as a lifeguard whose job was specifically to watch out for the shark and raise an alarm if I saw it. When the shark turned up, for some reason it bobbed face up to the surface, like a cork, with its mouth stuck open as though it wanted to drink some rain. It bobbed a couple times on the surface, then went deep again, and bobbed up somewhere else. A guy treading water nearby was watching with an unimpressed look on his face.

"Is that the shark?" I said to him.

He submerged and came back up. "Yeah," he said.

I started shouting for the other beach goers; "Shark! I guess . . ."

I also had a dream apparently inspired by War and Peace, wherein a character from the book, Pierre, was wandering the countryside on foot until he came to a manor house inhabited by French spies. He didn't realise they were spies until they invited him in and he found something terrible in one of the Christmas stockings hung over the fire, but I don't remember what it was.

Anyway, this all had to happen on a day I had scheduled to do two pages of comic, as due to hanging out with Trisa on Sunday I got a page behind. I didn't think it was a big deal since these two pages are particularly easy. Blah.

I know I said I would do the rest of the wardrobe design post to-day, but I'm too damned tired. Maybe to-morrow. Probably this week, anyway.

Happy 100th birthday, Akira Kurosawa. I forgot to mention I watched The Hidden Fortress again a week ago. It's truly amazing how many perfect compositions exist in Kurosawa's films. I was particularly admiring this one for some reason, as this whole group of characters running through the woods stop totally naturally in this fascinating arrangement;

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Uncanny Mesa

Twitter Sonnet #124

There's no right time to tell a clock to change.
The worst news is delivered via flies.
Sunlight off marble tames Minotaur's rage.
Cashew juices flow off fluorescent thighs.
Claws gently caress your front fanny pack.
Rotary dials died in plastic jaws.
Antennae dwell too long on what they lack.
Hand bestiality begins with paws.
Vito's orange mouth swallowed a grandchild.
No subtitle's safe in a wind tunnel.
Kanji vanishes into the wild.
Stored with strawberries in spider funnel.
The Blackberry killed the telephone star.
Sword swallower good lawyers eat the bar.

In Second Life last week, I got Tou this rather nice outfit;

It's The White Queen by Bare Rose and is one of a number of Alice in Wonderland related outfits Bare Rose has been releasing in the past several weeks. Only the Mad Hatter one really looks like one of the movie versions of the characters, but they all seem to live up to Bare Rose's usual standard of amazingly well made clothes, none of which ever seem to cost more than 180 and come automatically with three variants. The actual Alice outfits weren't my cup of tea (a little too bright), but I did get a sort of dominatrix meets muppet "Jubjub bird" outfit that's certainly a wonder to behold. I forgot to take a screenshot.

Speaking of muppets having sex, somehow that's all I could think of when I heard "Octomom" Nadya Suleman was being offered a role in a porno by a company who says they'll pay for her house in exchange. Am I the only one who thinks she looks like an Angelina Jolie muppet?

I've been meaning for a while to do a post about the costume designs in Venia's Travels. I guess I'll do half the post now.

This is the outfit Venia wore during most of the Vyurel segment. On the left is my original sketch, and you can see I dropped sleeves and a belt, pretty much at the last minute. This outfit, and most of the look of the faerie clothes, is mainly inspired by the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad, mostly June Duprez's clothes.

I even modelled the Vyurelan ambassador to Niveriku after Duprez herself;

The idea wasn't to model anything after any specific outfit from the movie, but to take several elements to capture something of the overall style. A lot of the Paely clothes are meant to evoke a sense of 1930s Hollywood medieval, as you can see from Venia's father, whose clothes are meant to be a slightly more pathetic version of Basil Rathbone's outfit in The Adventures of Robin Hood;

The idea's not so much to make any kind of post-modernist, meta joke. Rather, I feel the fusion of knowledge of medieval dress mixed with 1930s aesthetic sensibilities creates something different from either perspective. But I went slightly earlier for Wircelia's look in chapter 34 when I put her in almost exactly one of Mata Hari's outfits;

I don't know why exactly, but I'd wanted to dress Wircelia like Mata Hari for a while, and I guess it seemed appropriate for the chapter.

Kakeshya's wearing something more in the Niverikiin style, which is mainly based on images of Byzantine dress I find in Google image searches;

But you probably noticed Kakeshya's outfit in chapters 41 and 42 is significantly different in style from the other Niverikiin outfits;

This outfit is based on the clothes of a number of Bedouin women I found pictures of online. The idea is that Kakeshya's clothes here are of the cat people of northern Niveriku--remember, she's only half gorgon, and her father was a cat person, a species inspired by the Val Lewton film, and which I decided was the only species immune to the gorgon's power, thus making it possible for there to be such a thing as a half gorgon. I didn't want the gorgon's power to be something that could be switched on and off.

While the clothing in Niveriku's mostly based on Byzantine and Roman clothes, the armour worn by Knights and Paladins of course is plate mail from a much later period;

That's about all I have time for to-night. I'll go over more in a later post.