Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Insubstantial Fingers

Twitter Sonnet #157

Unicycle blanks drool from the pistol.
Clowns of latitude paint the globe like snails.
Betty Grable makes love to a missile.
Plutonium's baled from the boat in pails.
Grey ice teeth rows line a rolodex mouth.
Blue pits pull disintegrating apples.
Acidic ice cream rots oceans to south.
With a grinder, dying Play-doh grapples.
Elves are all women when they're on TV.
Prehensile penises are too coarse.
An ancient Viking has grown too heavy.
Perry Farrell was caught stealing Triforce.
Random ravenous hands are multiplied.
Nutrasweet powder webs and limbs collide.

For a couple days, when I was a teenager, I played Zelda II for hours on end while listening to Jane's Addiction's Ritual de lo Habitual on repeat. Since then, I can't play Zelda II without thinking of Jane's Addiction, and I can't listen to Jane's Addiction without thinking of Zelda II. I listened to Ritual de lo Habitual while drawing yesterday for the first time since I sold my copy of the album at least ten years ago.

To-day I listened to Nick Cave while drawing. I generally find albums I like either really impress me at first but gradually lose my enthusiasm over time, or don't impress me greatly at first while gaining a huge appreciation from me over time. Nick Cave albums tend to be of the former category. I listened to Murder Ballads to-day, which I loved the first fifteen or so times I listened to it, but a lot of it, particularly "Song of Joy" and "O'Malley's Bar", started to just seem too affected, too stilted somehow to me. Nick Cave oddly starts to sound like a Nick Cave impressionist. But I kind of enjoyed the album to-day.

I walked to my parents' house for lunch and took a bunch of pictures;

There was a bee examining the fallen flower petals;

I don't think I'd seen this particular kind of spider around here before.

I loved how the sunset was throwing whiskey coloured ribbons over everything.

When I got back, one of the caterpillars was at the front door. I have a weird feeling he was one of the ones I let go yesterday, wanting back in.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Big Inedible Leaf

I decided to try capturing a couple of the caterpillars that have been all over the place lately to see what kind of moth or butterfly they turn into. But I couldn't figure out what they ate, so I ended up letting them go. And come to think of it, although I see at least ten every time I walk to the store, I never see any eating. They're always moving.

I collected a bunch of different kinds of leaves and flowers from the area and threw in some lettuce, too, but they didn't seem to like any of it.

While I was gathering leaves, and petting Snow at the same time, I felt something sticky on my hand. Trying to brush it off on a leaf, I saw that it was a very, very tiny slug. There were two of them on the leaves I was carrying.

Here's some video of one of the little slugs. Music is by Howard Shore from his soundtrack to the David Cronenberg Crash, a track called "Mechanism of Occupant Ejection".

Monday, June 28, 2010

Replacement Portals

The seer said to watch for the grooming cat between two palms.

As he often is, Snow was waiting for me outside when I took out some trash last night. So, however, was one of the large orange spiders, who for some reason decided to build a web directly in front of the door, as though to make a screen door.

Poor Snow, immediately wanting to run into the garage, got a facefull of web. I guess the bits of web weren't too important, because the spider settled down again after a few moments agitation. Snow, however, paced in and out of the garage in vexation, as though testing this strange new force field.

I'm two episodes into the "Tombs of the Cybermen"* serial of Doctor Who and, I have to admit, so far I'm liking Patrick Troughton as the Doctor a bit more than William Hartnell. Particularly towards the end, Hartnell seemed to be more manner than performance. Troughton seems mischievous yet wise, self-confident but gracious. Hartnell had just seemed sort of distracted all the time, but I did like Hartnell. I could tell he really liked doing scenes in a drawing room with Sir Charles in "The War Machines"--Hartnell seemed like a genuine old fashioned English gentleman, which was cool, particularly for an alien.

I love Victoria and Jamie a lot more than Polly and Ben. Though I guess it's only in Sci-Fi Fantasy I'd feel comfortable with a girl from the Victorian era named Victoria and a Scotsman who always wears a kilt. But I loved when a guy from the future starts explaining a complicated lighting system to Jamie and Jamie interrupts to say, "Er, oh, aye, that," broadly feigning knowledge.

Victoria's intensely adorable, though I wish they'd let her wear Victorian clothes a bit longer. I'm really disappointed her introductory serial, "The Evil of the Daleks", is missing, because it sounds really great, and not just because it featured Marius Goring, who I know from The Red Shoes. It figures the first two celebrity guest stars I actually recognise, Marius Goring and Michael Gough, are both in missing serials.

*So, the Cybermen are basically Borg? Damnit.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aloha from Alcohol

Very hungover to-day. At my cousin's wedding last night, I had a scotch before the ceremony, a scotch after the ceremony followed by a bourbon, an Irish whiskey, and a glass of vodka to cleanse my palate. The vodka and bourbon were complimentary, and when I went back to the bar after the vodka, the guy told me complimentary drinks time was over. I shrugged, and figured I'd had enough. But I came across an uncle tipsy on beer who said, "Can you believe they sprung the cash bar on us?" and insisted on buying me a drink even though I protested I'd already had enough. But, since he insisted, I had another scotch. At that point, I was getting curious as to just how much I could drink. But I didn't have anything else until I got home and had some Wild Turkey.

The bourbon I had at the wedding was Jack Daniels, my first time having Jack Daniels, and I found it to be a little pathetic, though I suppose being used to Wild Turkey, Jack can only seem watered down. Of course, everyone else was drinking pansy mixed drinks. The big event was the groom and some guys doing tequila shots together.

I drank harder than everyone there, I'm sure, though I spent most of the evening reading a book on women in the Middle Ages while everyone else was dancing to The Black Eyed Peas and T-Pain. I still remember the chapter on Blanche of Castile I read--she sounds like an amazing woman, but it made me think about the constant balancing act it was maintaining a kingdom in the Middle Ages. Things seemed just about to go to hell all the time, right up to her death, after which, of course, they did. Aging must have seemed particularly cruel to her.

The wedding was at the Bali Ha'i restaurant, located on Shelter Island in San Diego Bay;

My parents, and a lot of other members of my family, were staying at the nearby Humphrey's Half Moon Inn for the evening. This picture was taken from my parents' hotel room;

There was water in all directions, which was kind of cool. I was very hungry when I arrived, as it was my lunch time, so I walked to a nearby bar called Point Break--which was across from another bar called Fiddler's Green, which I'd have much rather eaten at, but it looked like the sort of place that would charge me a lot and make me wait a long time. Which is unfortunately what turned out to be the case for Point Break, where I ordered a sampler plate of appetisers from an extremely pretty waitress. "What's in the Mozzarella legs?" I asked her. I glanced at the menu, "Logs. Mozzarella logs."

"Mozzarella," she said.

I had the logs, jalapeno poppers, and onion rings. With all the drinking I was to do later, I'd say yesterday was the meanest I'd been to my body in years. It's amazing I don't feel worse to-day.

My lightweight, possibly alcoholic cousin Jared, who rode with me when my cousin Tim drove me home, was astonished that I "raw-dogged" it, by which he meant I had straight vodka. I walked back to the hotel with those two cousins, so Tim could pick up the key to his car, and Jared made obnoxious comments to every girl we passed. He and I waited for Tim in front of the hotel lobby and a teenage girl walked past to whom Jared said something like, "Where you goin'? Stay here with me."

"What?" She stopped and frowned at him with some alarm. She was with a thirteen or so year old boy in a suit and neither one of them looked like they'd been far outside of whatever palace they'd come from.

"I'm not a crazy person or anything," said Jared.

"He's a crazy person," I said to her. "Just keep going."

Later, a horny middle aged woman approached Jared and said, "I love a man in a suit."

"Yeah, baby," he said.

"I gotta go," she said.

Tim, fortunately, had stayed sober. He had just graduated high school, Santana, the same high school I'd gone to. He'd been in my friend Marty's film class, and told me Marty had assigned reading my essay on Vertigo as extra credit, which is one of the coolest things I've ever heard. Taking Marty's class in high school was one of the hugely formative experiences of my youth, introducing me to David Lynch and Ridley Scott, and a general attitude and philosophy about art. That one of my essays was an assignment in his class now really floored me.

Between that and Jared, I suddenly felt very weirdly like the adult last night.

Happy birthday, Robyn Massachusetts.

Twitter Sonnet #156

Rodents run from certain capture to port.
Bland tract housing has amassed to starboard.
Cocoanut is porcelain's last resort.
A cannon is the loo of the coward.
Scrap metal retreats to a sewer pipe.
All orang ootangs are pregnant with droids.
Tomatoes grow four limbs when truly ripe.
It's Hawaiian Punch the primate avoids.
Monkeys guzzle sugar for alcohol.
Spinning strangers blur into stiff hula.
Petrol fed steel is the modern lamb's wool.
Succour's in each leg of tarantula.
Marx siblings are remembered in the bath.
Iodine stains starch of potato's path.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Corner World

I saw this extremely tiny spider in my bathroom last night, in a corner, on its own small web. The spider was just slightly larger than a large grain of sand.

For some time now, Roger Ebert's been engaged in a debate as to whether or not video games can be art. He says they can't be, and as much as I do like video games, I've tended to agree with him--I thought video games could contain art, in the form of visual design, and in dialogue and plot outline, but all these things can only exist in the game separate from the very thing that makes it a game; player input. It's possible to appreciate both story and design in a game without actually playing the game.

Most movies take a lot of people to make, but the director shouldn't be subject to a committee, a movie shouldn't be a democracy. With very rare exceptions diluting the focus of an artist's vision waters down the end product for the simple reason that the thing within the artist which drives him or her to make the art can, in the end, only be expressed as the art. That's why the episodes of Twin Peaks not directed by David Lynch aren't nearly as good.

A video game is dependent upon a player's input so it can never really be art. It could be a sort of weak hybrid, at most, but never really art.

That was my opinion up until I played Robot Unicorn Attack for three hours yesterday.

In the way of a lot of current post-modern humour, Robot Unicorn Attack's premise seems like a joke without a punchline, where the lack of punchline is in itself a punchline, a sort of illumination of the inherent ridiculousness of the human mind. But that's something one can appreciate without really playing the game. That act of playing the game conveys a more rewarding impression.

The game consists of a running robot unicorn (you) that cannot be stopped--there are only two controls; jump (z) and dash (x). You jump over pits and dash through metal stars that cause your death otherwise. All the while, "Always", the synth-pop ballad by Erasure plays on a loop.

My first instinct is to say that "Always" is a bad song, but I have to admit there's nothing objectively wrong with it. The only reason I wouldn't like it is because it presents a simplistically gentle view of love that I can't relate to. But it's arranged well enough that it does actually survive continuous play.

When combined with the automatic pleasure one feels when "defeating" the metal stars, I actually started to find myself invested in the song. As the game progresses, the unicorn moves faster and faster, and the game quickly gets harder and at the same time more exhilarating. After a while, happily squealing, shimmering dolphins arc across the bottom of the screen.

And as I died over, and over, and over again, the simultaneous encouragement and garishness of the visual and aural aesthetic came together. It conveys a personality--someone with big, impossible dreams who continually fails, but cannot stop, and every attempt brings more failure and destruction. In a way, it could be a metaphor for humanity.

The comments section at YouTube for the official video for "Always" features a passive aggressive argument between Adult Swim fans uncomfortable with emotions trying somewhat confusedly to gain ground with homophobic jabs while fans of the song try defending it, one of whom even seems to uneasily find the game lovely. What's great is the people hating the song can't actually point to anything in Robot Unicorn Attack that really insults fans of "Always", while the "Always" fans must feel an indefinable discomfort with the game, simply for the context in which it is found.

The Wikipedia entry for the song mentions the game;

The song is featured in the "Robot Unicorn Attack" flash game on Adult Swim's website. It is a simple side-scrolling platform game where the player controls a robot unicorn and helps it jump across platforms, collecting fairies and smashing through stars to earn extra points. The environment is a fantasy landscape consisting of purple grass, rainbow effects and flying sparkling dolphins. A few reviews comment the song complements the game well and plays a large role in the game's success. The game has over 24 million plays on

Which sort of reminded me of Christian Bale's embracing of the techno remix of his infamous on-set rant--a little sadly imperceptive.

Robot Unicorn Attack conveys the nature of human dreams as being both essential and perhaps impossible and fundamentally illusory.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fake Gravity Really Pulls Dialogue Branches

I couldn't find anyone to play chess with last night. It figures, once I started winning games, suddenly the pool of people who want to play me dries up. So I played Fallout 3 last night instead, the Pitt expansion, which takes place in Pittsburgh, which has become a an ammunition manufacturing centre operated by slave labour. The plot was really weak, involving some kind of skin wasting disease the slaves wanted me to get a cure for from the guy in charge of the slaves. So I infiltrated their organisation following a plan concocted by a leader of the slaves and when I got to the lab I discovered the cure was actually an infant. I thought to myself, "I wonder if the slaves know me taking the cure involves kidnapping a child?" I went outside to ask them, but this somehow triggered the branch of plot that had me siding with the slavers and all the slaves turned against me. By the end, I was seriously missing Fallout 2 again, and actually tried to install it, but the backup copy I had on my iPod wouldn't install properly. I suppose I need to hunt down my disk . . .

The Pitt looked kind of cool in places. The steel mill had a sort of Nine Inch Nails music video or Blade Runner quality with a bunch of white mannequins everywhere for no apparent reason;

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paper Forest

Twitter Sonnet #155

Shredded fish flutter onto fried tofu.
A cunning helmet is worn upside down.
Headgear coated with antigrav shampoo.
Soy sauce dribbles down a wasabi gown.
Fields of flowers break out on old space suit.
Late birds get infinite caterpillars.
One kid's pillow held only larval loot.
Closed Circle Ks contain psycho killers.
Restroom's men's or women's by occupant.
The ground's like a larger type of nest.
A winged apple strikes a young hierophant.
Bird fruit hybrids pose the pope's final test.
Thawing milk engulfs kitten cocaine.
A breastfed hat grows up a weathervane.

I was at my parents' house just now where the television was turned to E!. What a strange thing television seems to have become. It appeared to be rapid fire clips of wide eyed young men and women feverishly talking to someone off camera about boring things, like a campfire sing around where everyone has a dumb verse but tries to sing it as though they care about it. It felt like these people don't believe things can be intrinsically interesting, so they figure they may as well kill time showing pictures of Michael Jackson's kids and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, though the one Housewife they talked to looked about as real as Charlie McCarthy.

It's weird how many people with bad, overdone plastic surgery end up looking like Charlie McCarthy--the high, round, oddly hard looking red cheeks, the huge, shiny lips, and the knob chin. I'm all for people having the right to modify themselves, but I don't think people know themselves--or doctors--well enough to have that power in their hands. This Housewife, Danielle Staub--whose name sounds similar to Danielle Steele, a fact which somehow in itself is wearisome to me--may not have been attractive at 47 in 1810, but at least she wouldn't be forced to wear a mask of her psychological issues.

I think Second Life should be the test--if someone can't make a good Second Life avatar, they shouldn't be allowed to have plastic surgery. Anyone who's had a look around at the people in SL would know that there'd then not be very many plastic surgeries.

The problem is just that too many people are tacky. A good sense of aesthetics is too rare. The less power people had in deciding how they looked--say, a few hundred years ago--the better they looked. It's a sad truth.

When I play chess in SL, I usually send out a general IM to one of the chess groups I belong to asking if anyone wants to play. While I'm waiting, sometimes I just wander SL. Last night I was going through my hundreds of unsorted landmarks. I came to an empty lot in a Japanese area at one point. I browsed the other shops and came across a really well made tree;

That's the Space Battleship Yamato up there, unfortunately not to scale. But it was nice seeing a reference to old anime in SL, which is usually just filled with the white trash, runs of the seizure mill anime.

I checked the maker of the tree and followed that person's profile to their main shop, called Happy Mood, which was a really well put together place with some very well made trees and ultra cute animals. It's been so long since I saw something good in Second Life I hadn't seen before;

That's my avatar, Toubanua Tairov. And no, I don't want plastic surgery.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unbidden Teeth

I've just gotten back from the dentist, who told me I have eight cavities, a chipped filling, and gum disease. I need fillings, crowns, and my wisdom teeth finally removed. I wish I'd been born a duck. I'm so tired of my teeth. I'd really prefer the cheaper route of just having all the cavity riddled teeth removed. I figure all I really need is four teeth to chew, but everyone seems to think that's pretty crazy. I kept thinking of the Doctor Who serial I've been watching lately, "The Gunfighters", which features a scene where The Doctor, having a toothache, simply has the tooth extracted by Doc Holiday. Didn't even think about trying to save the tooth. No-one told him he was crazy. Sure, William Hartnell was in his late 50s at the time, but still. He's an alien. I wonder if all the other incarnations of The Doctor are missing the same tooth.

I suspect I'm enjoying "The Gunfighters" a lot more than most people. Somehow old Tombstone feels more like a distinctly different time and place than those featured in other episodes, despite a number of anachronisms. Many of those anachronisms are due to the other thing I'm enjoying about the serial, the almost total failure to emulate American accents and dialect. When at first a bunch of gunslingers on horseback appeared onscreen, sounding like a bunch of London hoods, I thought they'd decided to not even bother trying to do American accents, which I thought was actually sensible. Since everywhere they'd gone, however alien, everyone had spoken English, what was the sense of getting accents right? But, no, a few scenes later I realised the actors were trying, just failing kind of completely. The most fascinating is the guy playing Wyatt Earp, who I think may have been a Scottish actor, but his American accent comes out sounding almost German.

Here's a lizard I saw on my way back from the grocery store to-day;

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Portent of Point of Origin

This is a commercial for Anaheim my sister appears in;

She's the blonde with the parasol and at one point you see her talking to a guy while holding a red drink in her hand. She appears at several other points. Anyone seduced into going to Anaheim by this video, I'm sorry to tear down the veil, but sister actually lives in San Diego.

I'm really tired to-day, I guess because I forced myself to get up early. I really had to drag myself through pencilling and inking to-day's page, but I know I'm not going to have any breathing room with this chapter since I have a dentist appointment to-morrow and a cousin's wedding to go to this weekend.

I've had a couple people actually insinuate to me over the past couple months that I ought to be married with children by now. It surprises me that there's even still a shade of a stigma. I guess I'd be a spinster if I were a woman. I'm never going to get a decent dowry.

I've yet to detect any kind of biological clock. Children remain as unappealing to me as ever. I didn't even like kids when I was a kid. I was into girls when I was a kid, even before puberty. I used to really be into mermaids, which is why I watched Splash over and over. Daryl Hannah's ass and nipple silhouette made me a man by the tender age of seven, I'd insist.

It's interesting to me discovering which of my childhood obsessions still hold up for me as an adult. So far, Star Wars and Ghostbusters have fared the best, with maybe Ducktales being third. The animation was top notch in Ducktales, particularly for 1980s American animation. It completely blows Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out of the water, with it's absolutely wretched animation and writing. Yet both somehow held equal places in my childhood heart.

I'm most frustrated by Willow. I loved Willow when I was a kid. I still think it's James Horner's best soundtrack. But I can barely get fifteen minutes into the movie without wanting to throw a brick at the screen. It's so braindead.

When I was hating A Beautiful Mind, and Ron Howard's other vapid cinematic efforts of the past decade, I was all the time thinking to myself, "Boy, but the guy did make a couple good movies back in the 80s with Splash and Willow." Turns out, maybe not. Willow's looking like that modern knucklehead I know, and Splash . . . I watched part of it last night, and it holds up better than Willow. John Candy's and Eugene Levy's comic timing help a lot, and Daryl Hannah is amazing despite her tragically crimped hair, stapled to her naked back in one scene. I think the best scene in the move is Hannah in the sunken ship looking at an old map of New York. You can't tell her hair is so unfortunately styled, and Hannah really works the scene, which must have been tremendously difficult. Still, it mainly just makes me pine for the mermaid movie that's never been made.

The basic premise and comedy business at the beginning of the movie don't sit well with me. Tom Hanks as the guy who can't commit until he finds a beautiful naive woman who wants to have sex all the time really doesn't impress me too much.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stories of Demons and Their Ghosts

Twitter Sonnet #154

Living fur shoes disconnect internet.
Horizontal modems seek router love.
Robin Hood brings bourbon for percocet.
The duck mind is alien to the dove.
Old bread remembers threshing of ghost grain.
Harvest grinding liquefies plastic bits.
Barley foresees a scotch glass circle stain.
Level eighty farmers are lousy gits.
Mud hen warlord is alone on the lake.
Drinks are constantly brought to his table.
Water's downed purely for his bladder's sake.
Fowl organ warp fields are always stable.
White cat predators only play at night.
Horses do wonders for a short man's height.

I read yesterday about BP burning endangered turtles alive. The scale of absolutely disgusting behaviour on the part of BP seems too absurdly large to be real. But even as I say that, it makes sense. If any of this disturbed the consciences of these people, they'd never have been as mad to drill for oil as they had been. When one talks about people living without hope, usually it brings to mind depressed people. But the small community of rich white assholes who contentedly destroy to save their own fortunes show what the absence of hope for the future can look like when it's the bedrock of a people's existence. They may even believe on a superficial level the bullshit they spew about God and working towards a better to-morrow, but I think these people are already instinctively walling off with vast funds gotten by any means a small island of safety in a world moving inevitably towards destruction. But they can't wield their intellect to see that the old ways of self preservation are inadequate because they're moving on pure, scared asshole fuel. They don't feel guilt. Anything they might feel guilty about can rationally be put off on someone or something else. I keep thinking of Michael Palin's line in Brazil; "It's not my fault Buttle's heart condition didn't show up on Tuttle's file."

With breakfast to-day, I watched the fourteenth episode of Bakemonogatari. It's the second of three online only episodes, and for some reason I hadn't gotten around to watching it, even though it'd been out for a while and in that time I've actually re-watched part of the series. But my affection for the show continues to grow. I see I'm far from alone, and its great popularity makes a lousy English dubbed version seem inevitable.

I think it's popularity can be compared to that of Evangelion. I read a quote from Evangelion's director, Hideaki Anno, about Evangelion's popularity that I think could be applied to Bakemonogatari; "It's strange that Evangelion has become such a hit--all the characters are so sick!"

Similarly, rather than trying to run from the more disturbing and troubled aspects of otaku culture, Bakemonogatari seeks to confront and even embrace them intelligently while reasserting as the audience's voice a fundamental belief in not doing harm to others. I think that's a big part of it's staying power, that and Akiyuki Shinbo's unreservedly creative direction as well the character designs by Taiwanese illustrator Vofan. Something about his designs remind me of first encountering anime, that long ago epiphany that cartoon girls with large eyes and small mouths could be really, really sexy. Maybe it's just a slight difference in Vofan's unconscious design algorithm.

The latest episode of Bakemonogatari certainly has the best cat girl I've ever seen. Anime is full of all kinds of cat girls, but for some reason this is the only one that really gets me. I can't explain exactly why.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going Towards the Apple

I had a headache last night that felt like the opening shot of the Star Destroyer in the first Star Wars film, so I ended up just watching The Lady Eve again, perceiving it through the haze somehow.

The Lady Eve is such a marvellously psychological romantic comedy. Maybe I ought to say reverse psychological, because it achieves a lot through reverse psychology, the first instance of which that I really admire is when sweet, innocent Charles (Henry Fonda) shows Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) and her father (Charles Coburn) a card trick, and explains to them the concept of palming a card. We know already that Jean and her Father are card sharps, and their indulgent attitude with Charles helps establish just how good they are--the more impressive Charles' card trick, the more we would sense Jean and her father are miles above it, even though the only actual example of their expertise we see in the scene is a surreptitious trick shuffle by Coburn's character.

Most movies tend to end up with one character who's the audience's point of view character throughout the movie, and in this case that character is definitely Barbara Stanwyck's. It's cemented from an early scene where she delivers her observations in monologue while we watch through a reflection in her compact Charles, her intended victim, and the other women vying for his attention. But her position as point of view character is maintained throughout the film as most situations in it are motivated by her plans, and she's almost always more in the know than anyone else, particularly guileless Charles.

The one exception is the brief scene where Charles finds out Jean is a card sharp before she enters the room, and she sits beside him and casually bares her soul, which she feels safe doing after they'd confessed their love for each other the night before. She's so vulnerable here, and at the mercy of his innocent perspective on justice, she further earns our sympathy. When he bluffs that he knew all along she was a card sharp, and she tearfully asks if he's telling her that just to make her feel cheap, we see clearly how Charles' guilelessness isn't only sweet and funny, but also kind of terrible.

Aside from being an heir to a prosperous ale company, Charles is also an amateur ophiologist, and from the cartoon snake in the opening credits, and Jean clunking him on the head with an apple from the upper deck of the cruise ship where they meet, there's a running, playful metaphor for the biblical expulsion from Eden. Charles' connexion to the snake lends it a phallic quality which plays out well when Jean uses her own genuine fear of it to manipulate him.

It could be said that, into this story, he brought the snake while she brought the sin. But in a perhaps blasphemous turn, the movie seems to argue for the joy and usefulness of the woman's sinful, intellectual superiority.

And the movie's one of the funniest films ever made, with absurd dialogue that serves to establish resonant characters, and even inspired slapstick. Few films are more perfect or more peculiarly so.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Real Nun Inside

I only just to-day watched the fifth episode of Arakawa Under the Bridge. I haven't been watching anime as much lately, since the time when I traditionally did, during breakfast, has been taken over by colouring while listening to Howard Stern. But the latest crop of anime hadn't been as interesting, either. Though I do like the second opening of Arakawa Under the Bridge;

It seems to say; "Hey, cross-dressing clergymen; lighten up!"

Arakawa Under the Bridge is better than Dance in the Vampire Bund, and about equally as good as half of Natsu no Arashi's first season. But these new Akiyuki Shinbo series just aren't nearly as good as Maria Holic, Bakemonogatari, and Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. I think the problem lies in a stagnation of excitement over playful, slightly challenging perversion. The odd bondage imagery was almost totally gone from the third season of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, and then felt awkward when reintroduced in the newest OVAs. This Arakawa Under the Bridge opening somewhat reclaims it. Mainly I wish there'd be a second Maria Holic season.

I'm still watching Doctor Who with dinner, and I'm three episodes into "The Ark" serial of the third season. There are a bunch of episodes missing from the third season, so I went from companions Vicki and Steven in "The Time Meddler" to suddenly having Steven and Dodo. I don't think I like Dodo--maybe it's just because I'm traumatised for having Vicki suddenly taken from me, but Dodo just seems affected and blank to me. I miss sensing the layers of thought Maureen O'Brien displayed so ably.

I don't really miss Ian and Barbara. They were getting to be noticeably homogeneous next to The Doctor and Vicki. But I do kind of miss the group dynamic they created--there were two configurations of teams; The Boys (Doctor and Ian) and The Girls (Barbara and Vicki) and The Normal People (Ian and Barbara) and The Sci-Fi People (Doctor and Vicki). The shifting between dynamics seemed to be a handy way of creating surprising stories, and emphasising Vicki's sort of goofy, youthful assertiveness and The Doctor's weirdness.

I see I've missed a whole companion run in the jump, Katarina. I wish I could've seen how the group functioned. In any case, I hope The Doctor gets more than one female companion again. Not that I'm suggesting anything sexual, though in screen shots I've seen of Tom Baker he does look kind of like a pimp.

I've managed to avoid seeing any footage of the other Doctors somehow, except about one second of Matt Smith when I was channel surfing a couple weeks ago. I'm hoping I can keep myself basically pure.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Organised Duck Crime

Twitter Sonnet #153

Southern water spots take seven months off.
Lever action ideas defy rifles.
Drunken horses somehow circled Rostov.
Terrorists choked Porky Pig with truffles.
Paper explodes under a plastic fist.
Small moist merchandise shrinks on the goat's shelf.
With the wave of a hoof, bridge crew's dismissed.
Spock was eaten by a cannibal elf.
The Milky Way burns into new glasses.
Sin's litter races to the Nestle pound.
Circles of dogs attend cat skin classes.
Captives of Felix's bag hear no sound.
The eyelid wasteland wraps into the sack.
Acidic lipstick fights a sucker's plaque.

I had some stale hamburger buns I took to the river to-day and gave to some rather vicious ducks;

Music's by Nino Rota from The Godfather part II soundtrack.

I've been eating Morning Star's vegetarian burgers for a while now, and I've just started eating their California Turkey patties. Insanely good. Nothing like turkey, of course, but then I probably wouldn't like it. These buns, however, were awful. At least the ducks enjoyed them. I was surprised by how aggressive they were. A couple times, you might be able to tell in the video, a duck would actually reach around the camera to some bread I held back in my palm. It's a good thing they were so discerning--I got a couple nips on my fingers but nothing bad.

Venia and Gender Relations in Inappropriate Places

The new Venia's Travels is online. Men and women discuss holes on horseback. Oh, yeah.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Painter of Pissed

My sister just called to tell me a bit of news she knew would put a smile on my face; Thomas Kinkade has been arrested for DUI. Ah hahaha! Just look at this fucking douchebag;

His fucking Eddie Munster hair and dipshit goatee. Painter of light in fucking deed. His shirt looks like Austin Powers cut open his wrists on it. Thomas Kinkade, to me, is the embodiment of how fucked up this world is when it comes to art. Millions of truly talented artists can barely get by while this cocksucker makes a mint off soulless tripe not fit to print on toilet paper. And he acts like a fucking asshole, too;

He has been sued by former gallery owners who say they lost everything trying to sell his prints in their now-defunct stores. And a pair of stories published in the Los Angeles Times in 2006 recount incidents in which an allegedly drunk Kinkade heckled illusionists Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas; cursed a former employee’s wife who came to his aid when he fell off a barstool; and palmed a startled woman’s breast at a signing party in Indiana.

In the late 1990s, he is reported to have urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. “This one’s for you, Walt,” he is reported to have said.

Well, this one's for you, shithead. Though from the sound of things, you're already eating your own heart out. Sometimes it's nice to hear about how big time users really are suffocating from the inside. Howard Stern's been complaining about Elton John playing Rush Limbaugh's wedding for a million dollars. I wanted to say to Stern, "Yeah, but look at it this way--you didn't have to pay anyone a million dollars to perform at your wedding. People performed at your wedding because they wanted to." I sleep a little better thinking maybe the hustlers are choking slowly on all that cash.

In honour of this motherfucker's disgrace, I'd like to repost again one of my favourite Comic-Con stories. This is from one of my 2008 Comic-Con Reports, where I saw Ralph Bakshi's panel;

He told a story about working on his film Fire and Ice that was one of the best things I'd ever heard. Fire and Ice was a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, and Bakshi talked about how Frazetta, a man in his fifties, demonstrated to the movie's stuntmen how to do some of the more arduous stunts with more energy than any of the stuntmen demonstrated. Bakshi also mentioned how Frazetta carried all his paintings around with him in a trailer.

Painting backgrounds on the movie were a young James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade. Apparently, according to Bakshi, they learned all they knew about painting from Frazetta, which is hilarious in itself. "Kinkade makes a lot of money off garbage now," said Bakshi, at which point the room applauded. "But I will say this for Kinkade; he was the greatest hustler I ever met."

He described Kinkade constantly coming into his office and demanding more money, and they'd get into really heated arguments partly because, as Bakshi said, Kinkade "didn't like Jewish guys from Brooklyn" (Bakshi's a Jewish guy from Brooklyn). Finally, one day Kinkade tells Bakshi he and Gurney have to hitchhike across the country. "What d'you mean you gotta hitchhike across the country? We're making a movie!"

But Kinkade eventually wore Bakshi down, and he and Gurney went from town to town getting their pictures in every local paper, talking about the movie and how they were the great artists. When they got back to Los Angeles, Bakshi said Kinkade, "told me he needed a raise. I said, 'why' and he said because he's famous now."

Last night's tweets;

Paper explodes under a plastic fist.
Small moist merchandise shrinks on the goat's shelf.
With the wave of a hoof, bridge crew's dismissed.
Spock was eaten by a cannibal elf.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Violins and Shotguns

Last night's tweets;

Southern water spots take seven months off.
Lever action ideas defy rifles.
Drunken horses somehow circled Rostov.
Terrorists choked Porky Pig with truffles.

Some spider footage;

Music by Kroke. It's so much easier to get video than stills of these spiders. Not only because of my unsteady hand, but also because the wind constantly makes their webs sway back and forth. In some of the footage, I'm moving the camera back and forth to keep the spider in focus. The spider almost smacked into the lens a couple times.

This guy's name is King George;

The lyrics to his theme song, which plays over his introduction, are, "George, George, George . . . He's a pimp."

I've deduced that King George may be involved in the prostitution business in some way.

Last night I watched Coffy, a movie I'd been meaning to watch for a long time, but was reminded to a few days ago when I read somewhere it was one of Quentin Tarantino's favourite movies. Coffy's ending reminded quite a bit of the end of Kill Bill vol.2, presenting a more direct and even more cerebral dialogue on the justice of revenge killing, though with a resolution slightly easier than Kill Bill's.

But mainly Coffy is blaxploitation, of course, and Pam Grier as Coffy shows an appropriate emotional vulnerability in the film's surprisingly serious later scenes while working wonderfully the rest of the time as a beautiful woman with some of the most fantastic breasts I've ever seen. They are the kind of breasts uptight people might insist to you only exist in comic books. But here they are.

A lot of the film's reviews refer to her as delivering a great performance, and she does, particularly in that last scene, as I said, but more than performance, she's interesting for her strange, sometimes seemingly exaggerated mannerisms. She never seems fake, except that Coffy herself seems somewhat stilted at times. It's hard to explain.

Booker Bradshaw is perfectly charismatic as Coffy's politician lover--the more so because you get the feeling he might really love Coffy. He's a vital part of what makes the movie interesting.

Sid Haig as a gangster henchman is relatively well used. He comes across as smarter than the guy he's working for, which has the odd effect of making it seem smarter to be a henchman than a boss.

NSFW clip;