Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meeting Spikes

There's been a thunder storm here all day. At lunch time, I went into the backyard during a brief rain lull and watched this snail trying to get somewhere.

Music's by Gheorghe Zamfir, which makes this another one of my videos blocked in Germany. Sorry, Germans.

I thought some good old fashioned alcohol would help my jaw ache, if it really is due to stress, but all I had in stock last night was tequila, vodka, and rum--it'd been weeks since I'd had any whiskey, and I suddenly found myself powerfully in the mood. I decided to go to CVS and get either some Jameson or some Wild Turkey, whichever one was on sale. Wild Turkey was on sale for 16 dollars, but then so, I saw, was Bushmills, for 14 dollars. I'd never had Bushmills--Jameson's been my only experience with Irish whiskey--and I was a little intrigued to try something dating back to at least 1608, within Shakespeare's lifetime.

Incidentally, double checking to make sure I was right about the year of Shakespeare's death, I noticed Wikipedia has an entry separate from the main Shakespeare entry for Shakespeare's life. It's not even a very big extra entry.

Anyway, I found I really like Bushmills. It's not as sweet as Jameson, there's something, I don't know, minty about it. Though I wonder if this is a childhood preconception about the Irish infecting my taste buds. According to its Wikipedia entry, from an uncited source, Bushmills distillery may have been making whiskey as early as the thirteenth century. It's nice to think I may have found another taste of the Middle Ages.

And speaking of the Middle Ages, I'm already three episodes into "The Time Warrior" Doctor Who serial, with which I was at first absolutely in heaven--costumes, props, and environment being extraordinarily period accurate. There are even pageboy haircuts on the men, something you see less and less of in new Medieval movies. Though the wigs certainly aren't great, especially on a serving wench in the third episode. But the main disappointment is the inclusion of a "civilised" King, who refrains from killing his enemies' men if possible (despite apparently being vastly outnumbered). The King also seems to quickly rely on the Doctor overmuch--he needs the Doctor to tell him his enemy will probably attack again after they've been temporarily repelled by stink bombs. Sometimes the main thing separating Doctor Who from Sherlock Holmes is that Holmes exists in a world where he's smarter than everyone and the Doctor exists in a world where everyone happens to be dumber than him.

But that still doesn't bother me as much as the civilised faction. And I realised it's too often like that, whether it's UNIT or the Thals or a futuristic Earth government, there's often "good guys". It seems like there was less of that with the first and second Doctors.

I've watched quite a lot of Doctor Who since I last talked about it, I guess. There were certainly many good moments, and I loved seeing the first two Doctors again in The Three Doctors, though it made me feel a bit cross-eyed. A part of me really resisted the idea of discerning the Doctors as separate characters in any way. But I did enjoy the cattiness between 2 and 3.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Don't Have to Cook It

Twitter Sonnet #187

Shy thieves vie for noisy new jewellery.
False milks ruin things for a poor utter.
A soy river's lost in a brewery.
Marshmallow stars brighten any gutter.
Silk screens hide elegantly shaped oil.
Submarine merchants use scopes to decide.
Sun ravaged salad dressing burns soil.
Incoherent helicopters collide.
Obtuse vodka clouds the cocoanut orb.
A brutal breed of rum wrecks a melon.
Distilled cement's more than teeth can absorb.
Macbeth in ink of Ian McKellen.
Green grass is the bottom of sun ray's L.
Permanent trash can't penetrate chain mail.

I had trouble getting started to-day. This whole diurnal schedule is messing me up--I feel like I need to be outside. There's a little kid in me saying, "I want to play outside!" and a stern adult going, "No! You have to draw your comic." And then by the time I'm done, the sun's setting. Sigh.

I drove to Fry's a couple days ago on just the pretext of buying canned air. Hard to think of a flimsier sounding excuse, right? Though the stuff's actually really useful for dusting, and indispensable for cleaning computers. But I was reminded of how, before I started to do web comics, one of the things I liked to do was just drive around town, exploring. "Wandering" like James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo. Ghosts of old habits are popping up now as this daytime schedule is looking like it's here to stay.

At the same time, I've had this strange feeling of metamorphosis. I opened my window to-day while working--I've always been a fiercely indoor person, yet now I like to feel the outdoors. I don't even like malls the way I used to. I can't take a lot of dairy anymore, and Monday it occurred to me my jaw ache was worse just after coffee, so I've cut back on caffeine a little bit.

My jaw does still ache a bit--my dentist gave me the same theory Arina and Bri did, that it's stress and I'm grinding my teeth without realising it. I'm not sure what to do about it, but I've actually gotten used to it somehow. I'm just tired of caring about it, and when I got tired of caring about it, it actually lessened quite a bit.

I almost bought the 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland at Fry's, but just couldn't do it, even though it was only ten dollars. I really only want to see it because I'm an Alice in Wonderland completist--I've heard it's actually not very good, despite the presence of Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and W.C. Fields. When the hell are we going to get a proper adaptation of the Alice books? Film has been around for over a century already.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Heart of the Realm

I've some freshly augmented teeth--a bunch of fillings in the upper right teeth, after a bit of sanding. There's nothing quite like the smell of your own burning teeth.

On The Howard Stern Show last week, porn star Lupe Fuentes was woefully ill equipped to conceal the fact that Robert Rodriguez, under a different name, recently directed her in Super Pooosey;

Before her manager and boyfriend, Evan Seinfeld, came in the room, Lupe had not only spilled the beans directly that it was Robert Rodriguez, but mentioned screening Machete in Rodriguez' home. But if it's not Robert Rodriguez, it's certainly a good imitator, and anyway someone with a talent for fluid action editing even when he's obviously just goofing around. And I love that the "pooosey" is a mysterious briefcase with a bizarre sex symbol on it.

It actually kind of reminded me of El Mariachi, with its progression of tight, low angle shots--by seeing this stuff in such a plain state, it makes me kind of feel I've started taking the technique for granted in its polished form. It's also interesting to see some of the goofy, S&M sexuality characteristic of so many of the grindhouse films Rodriguez and Tarantino emulate but is mostly absent from their films. Machete has a few self consciously gratuitous sex scenes, but they still feel a little unwieldy.

Hey, I found a word that doesn't immediately sound like a sexual pun here, like "stiff" or "rigid".

Speaking of some sexual rigidity;

I watched the English version of The Blue Angel last night--a German film, but as it was produced in the early days of sound films, there was a desire to preserve the greater exportability of silent films, and in this case it was done by producing simultaneously an English and German version of the film. But the English version still feels very German, as the English spoken is explained by having Professor Rath (Emil Jannings) be an English teacher, and Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich) be an Englishwoman, but they're still surrounded by Germans and there are stretches of untranslated German dialogue, though actually the movie features very little dialogue altogether. I never felt particularly lost, because the story's told almost entirely with visuals, probably because director Josef von Sternberg earned his chops making silent films. The movie's filled with the beautiful, famous Expressionism of German film in the 20s and 30s.

Dietrich's English accent wasn't perfect, but better than I'd expected, better than it tended to be later in her career, in fact, and I'm guessing there were some rather careful line readings. She already exudes an extraordinary cool self-confidence, though. I've read a couple reviews wondering at how the presumably intellectual professor could've fallen under her spell, but I think Professor Rath shows here that academic accomplishment doesn't necessarily translate into wisdom. He's shown early on to be a very simple, guileless fellow as his morning's ruined by the death of his pet bird, who doesn't reply to his cheerful whistle when expected. His heavy handed attempt to punish his students for going to see Lola Lola's show, and his punishment for a student's inability to pronounce the word "the" by having everyone write it two hundred times, also bear this out. What's communicated by Dietrich's charismatic self possession by contrast is someone who simply has more control of her own heart than the Professor. She doesn't hate him, and she doesn't mean to be cruel to him, I don't think--she does stick up for him when others abuse him at first. She's simply not at the mercy of her own emotions as much as he is. One could say she's callous, one could say she's more realistic. Either way, despite the fact that he starts the movie as a sort of mean buffoon, I can't help feeling more for the Professor by the end.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Same Old Domestic Violence and Robots

I saw the trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit to-day;

I've never seen the John Wayne movie, which was adapted from the same novel, but it sounds like the Coens' version is going to be based purely on the novel, rather than attempt to be any sort of remake of the earlier film. I've no particular desire to see the 1969 movie, though I do like John Wayne. It sounds like that movie shifted the focus to Wayne's character, while the book, and the Coens' movie, is more from the perspective of the young girl. Which sounds like a much better story to me. Maybe it's because the 1969 version to me sounds like the film adaptation of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which also shifted the focus to a male character when a prominent star was cast in the role.

I watched a lot of second episodes yesterday; Boardwalk Empire, Sym-Bionic Titan, and the second episode of the new season of Venture Brothers. They were all good. The first two were concerned with employing well worn genre tropes for new, sincere stories while Venture Brothers of course used such tropes for parody--most prominently, in this case, the alien arena episode, where heroes and villains are forced to fight and eventually work together when some other, powerful third party imprisons them. Venture Brothers never takes it seriously for a moment, and the thing never quite seems to get off the ground, as all the would-be gladiators are quickly distracted by immature squabbling or imperturbable bloodlust. There was also a good subplot about Dr. Venture being blindfolded and interrogated by Teddy Ruxpin.

The new Sym-Bionic Titan managed to be vibrant with the old "secretly alien family moving into American suburbia" setup, mainly because the characters feel so realised. My favourite bit was the robot confronting a realtor exiting the restroom, preceded by a toilet flush sound effect, to ask him, "What were you doing in there?"

And there was nothing particularly original about Al Capone beating the shit out of a reporter in the new Boardwalk Empire, but it was very fun, especially as the guy playing Capone has those short, beefy limbs that seem to be on spring hinges.

I also liked the Odysseus and the sirens burlesque show;

I love how Odysseus is played by a girl in a false beard, though I feel like the character would've been more likely referred to as Ulysses in the early twentieth century. I don't actually know, though.

I guess Kelly MacDonald is supposed to be playing an Irish immigrant, which was actually what I thought at first before reading her Wikipedia entry and realising she was the dame in Trainspotting showing off her teeth in all the posters, and I wondered if I maybe didn't have as good an ear for accents as I thought I did. I kind of hoped, too, as I was a bit put off by the tired cliche of the Irishman beating his wife--now, a Scotsman beating his wife, that's vaguely exciting. But, nope, she's supposed to be Irish. She must be really good with accents, because she also played an American in No Country for Old Men, which I guess brings us back to the beginning of the post. To tie it all together; I was referring to Sean Connery in the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen adaptation, and Sean Connery's a Scot who beat his wife.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Soaked Bread

Twitter Sonnet #186

Blue pages sting a hard corn nucleus.
Leather midnight slings a chunk of fossil.
A liver pile hides a pancreas.
Saltwater washes the sleeping Cecil.
Fire finds a governor in a wood.
Burning muscle flees a rude skeleton.
More languages live than are understood.
China knows Korean Michael Keaton.
Angry goats are stuck on Secret Island.
Begrudged wings carry them slowly around.
Every green naga needs a good husband.
Mister Mouflon cannot fail to astound.
Scorched wool washes clean the department store.
Shears are shipped ominously to Endor.

I saw two ducks on the lawn of my parents' house yesterday--apparently two of the three I saw wandering into the neighbourhood a little while ago. My parents' have left out for them a little trough of water.

I'd accumulated six stale hamburger buns, so I took them to the river to-day where they were all quickly gobbled up by the duck mob.

It was insanely hot to-day--I got tired just stepping outside. The ducks were crowding together under a few trees when I found them. When I finished feeding them, most of them immediately commenced to furious drinking.

I'd been nursing a viewing of The Two Towers extended edition for about a week. I'm noticing more and more Peter Jackson's peculiar affinity for close-ups. There was a team of wonderful artists and craftsmen who made beautiful sets and costumes, yet most of the movie seems to be people's faces. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though I often think how nice it would be to see a version of the films with long takes of people from distances, to drink in the environments a bit more. Though of course that would probably turn the more than 12 hour film series into something like 72 hours.

But it's something I think about when I think about whether Tolkien himself would like the movies. Before even getting to the changes made from the books, or the special effects, one has to consider all the stylistic mannerisms of filmmaking that we've become accustomed to that would be quite jarring to someone of Tolkien's generation, not only the copious close-ups but the continuous, rapid cutting, the iron fist of the modern filmmaker on the perspective--always firmly telling you to focus on this or that.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit--it's held up for me better than I thought it would. Drinking some Grey Goose vodka helped, too, I suppose--I bought a bottle on Friday when I discovered somehow Grey Goose has gotten to be as cheap as Absolut. Which was weird, as I always thought that Grey Goose was the creme de la ethanol. It was certainly still insanely smooth last night, I can tell you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Webs and Moss

That's one of the big orange spiders at around 1pm to-day. I normally never see them out during the day, and I thought for sure they were out of season by now anyway. I thought this might be dead, so I blew on it lightly and saw it draw in its front legs.

I went to my aunt Essie's funeral to-day. She was actually my grandmother's aunt which makes her, what, my great great aunt? I think I only spoke to her a couple times in my whole life, though I loved playing in her backyard when I was a kid--she and her husband generally held at their house the big holiday family gatherings. Apparently Essie moving to San Diego to join her brother is what led to my whole extended family moving out here from Tennessee. She was 92 years old.

The amount of people in the room was about twice what it was prepared for, so a lot of people were standing. The chaplain spoke about her and about death like he was reading a book report--lots of trivial facts thrown into a sort of shallow, car salesman spiel, but I guess a lot of other people were satisfied. I think most people would just rather funerals not be heavy affairs.

Of course, there was nothing for a vegetarian to eat, so I wandered the grounds taking pictures.

There was a lot of moss.

One of the trees had a lot of these pockets of leaves made of branches and webs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hot Meat

There was something wrong with the shop connexion thing on my Kindle, so the copy of The Satanic Verses I'm reading now is an old fashioned, hard copy, trade paperback, and nothing does beat having a physical book in your hand. Of course, having a Kindle I can't ignore the fact that I can get a lot of the books I want to read from it for no more than a few cents, but it's nice to be able to simply flip open a book so I can transcribe a bit like this;

She made love like a cannibal and he was her long pork

Oh . . . All right. I know Rushdie's going for a metaphor about diets proscribed by religion, but this sentence can't fail to seem silly. Rushdie continues;

'Did you know,' he asked her, 'of the well-established connection between vegetarianism and the man-eating impulse?' Zeeny, lunching on his naked thigh, shook her head. 'In certain extreme cases,' he went on, 'too much vegetable consumption can release into the system biochemicals that induce cannibal fantasies.'

I found this rather interesting, as a vegetarian myself, but I must admit I've never fantasised about eating a human being. However, I cheered Snow on to-day for some reason as he psychologically tortured, before finally eating alive, this grasshopper;

I had a hard time thinking of music for this one, and ended up going to three different sources; The Bad Sleep Well soundtrack by Masaru Sato, the rescoring of the Tod Browning Dracula by Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet, and the Ran soundtrack by Toru Takemitsu.

Venia's Unaccounted for Monsters

The new Venia's Travels is online. You could call it an early Halloween chapter.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dear Electric Purgatory

Twitter Sonnet #185

Apple blood's trapped in a bottle prison.
Opaque juice awaits gullet avenue.
A vertical stripe overkill fission.
Dark blueberries dominate the menu.
Inedible wax wills itself to fruit.
Tired tourists analyse fibreglass.
A fish child's born shaped like an old boot.
A dead man's spectacles are bad for grass.
Funeral heights chill a mountain bucket.
Leg string tangles into sloppy contours.
Bombing barrels of lard makes fat racket.
Nothing is an accident on Star Tours.
Hay Chex homogenise horse breakfasts.
Ceiling fans make manageable tempests.

I feel like I'm wearing a tight leather hood. Just on my jaw, though. That might be the way to describe it. It's really not painful, and it hurts less when I chew. I wonder if it's stress related. Maybe it's related to the workmen outside waking me up early two days in a row.

Maybe it's psychological. I was looking at myself in the mirror earlier and had this weird moment of total disassociation from myself. Like the person I was looking at wasn't me, like the person I was looking at didn't belong in the world, like it really wasn't even a person but a human shaped blotch against the white background. There's like this low haze of gloom I can't break out of. I want a smack in the face or something but I can't seem to crawl up to normal and I'm fucking tired of it already. I'm tired of listening to myself, and ping ponging between telling myself the jaw ache is nothing to worry about and imagining I got some kind of lethal infection. I'm fucking nuts. And then I bob up a moment and I'm okay when I laugh at something--a moment ago on Twitter I saw someone tell Seth MacFarlane he looked like Autopilot from Airplane!. I felt better a moment laughing at that.

But most of the time I feel like I'm stuck in a trunk I can't break out of. I keep reminding myself, "The dentist didn't see anything wrong last week. This is nothing, you fucking weirdo." I want to stick my head in a bucket of ice and fall asleep. Or get an ice cold sledge hammer to the face. I don't know what's wrong with me that I think something's wrong with me. I don't know what's wrong with me that I don't think something's wrong with me.

I need to colour most of the last four pages of the new comic chapter, I'm not sure when it'll be up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tight Strings

I dreamt last night I was having an affair with Mel Gibson's girlfriend (not Oksana). Only I didn't find out she was his girlfriend until she confessed it to me one night in her home, weeks after we'd started dating. "You need to get out of here," she warned. "He's coming for you."

The rest was a jumble of shadows and the sense of being pursued by grey bug eyes and the heavy breathing on the telephone that now seems to get used a lot as a sound gag on The Howard Stern Show. This was followed by a dream of photographing a giant butterfly swimming in an ocean.

I had a little trouble getting to sleep with my aching jaw, but I didn't have any particular trouble sleeping once I got there. Five years ago, a jaw ache would probably be just a minor annoyance, but now every little ache and pain worries me it's the tip of a distracting and expensive iceberg.

It's not really pain, in my jaw, though, it's just a sort of stiffness. I don't have any trouble distracting myself from it--it mainly gets noticeable when I'm bent over the drawing board. It's one of the things that's really making me look forward to being done with this comic lately. I've written an outline I think is going to be pretty permanent and it looks like the chapter I'm working on now will be fourth to last, with the last chapter going online on November 6th. I think I might just do nothing for two weeks after that and luxuriate in not being committed to anything. I envy how many of the people I know seem to be able to blow off things whenever they want to. It's a hard thing to do when you're working for your own vision, slacking off makes the universe look dismal. I know if I go too long without a project to chew on I start to go out of my mind, but I do need respite now and then.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guns, Girls, and Pretty Pictures

I watched the first episode of Boardwalk Empire last night, HBO's new mob series, set at the beginning of Prohibition. The first episode was directed by Martin Scorsese, which was the main thing that drew me, though I suspect a lot of the audience for the premiere are fans of The Sopranos, as it was written by Sopranos writer Terence Winter and features several Sopranos cast members--not to mention the similar subject matter.

I've never seen The Sopranos, but so far Boardwalk Empire features a lot more mobster tropes than I ever would have thought Scorsese would use. The idea behind Goodfellas was to show a more realistic impression of the Italian mafia than the romanticised versions in films like The Godfather. Boardwalk Empire feels much more like The Godfather than Goodfellas, complete with clean, beautiful sets, costumes, and cinematography and a sense of fantasy gangster nobility.

Steve Buscemi is great as the central character, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, based on a real life politician and gangster. He comes off sort of like a smarter and more collected James Cagney character, but it's the most casually ass-kicking character I've ever seen Buscemi play.

The comparison between this show and gangster films of the 30s got me thinking about how much more fun those movies were than modern, doggedly sombre entertainment, but just as I was thinking this, Boardwalk Empire gave me a nice, delightful little sex scene. Reminding me of a scene from Fargo, I've concluded few actors can make realistic looking coitus on film as nicely silly as Steve Buscemi.

But Nucky's budding infatuation with a poor, morally pure Scottish immigrant played by the beautiful Kelly Macdonald leads us back to romanticised territory. Obviously here to make us feel sympathetic to Nucky as well as to establish one of the easily understandable appealing aspects of being a gangster, as we see Nucky have her abusive husband killed for causing her to miscarry. I couldn't help thinking of the scene in Goodfellas where Henry pistol whips a guy for hitting Karen, which is far more of a piece with that film's dirtier take on a life often negotiated with violence.

But as a fun, romantic take on 1920s mob, with a slightly sombre side, Boardwalk Empire starts okay and gets better about halfway through the episode. Thank the gods for HBO that provides us with television shows with sex and ultraviolence. I particularly liked the bloody update on the wacking of Big Jim Colosimo, still reminiscent of the scene from the 1932 Scarface.

With breakfast to-day, I watched the first episode of Eden of the East, a nicely abnormal anime series from last year. You know it's not your standard shonen series when it begins with the male lead naked and cheerfully waving a pistol and cell phone at the White House. What follows is a cute, somewhat Hitchcockian boy and girl chased by government/criminal agents suspense story. And surprisingly grammatically correct English from American characters on the show, instead of the usual almost totally senseless strings of English words used in Japanese pop music.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Propulsion Angled for Endless Circles

Twitter Sonnet #184

Bee beer dreams bring hot mugs to the table.
Combined organs power transparent skin.
Goblins loiter in the padlocked stable.
A world sized ballroom has no new way in.
Cool container keeps a blue frozen troll.
A hundred boxes are all now unlocked.
So stuck Jack in the Box digs a black hole.
Key clowns demand who among them has talked.
Watery wine kicks slices of lemon.
The liver bedrock sags under the house.
Canada can see hockey in heaven.
Hair product polishes a sleepy louse.
Cold sweat burns the idea of a summer.
New devils sink in the coffin hummer.

Feel a bit shitty to-day and I'm not sure why. I finally got plenty of sleep. But everything I do to-day, it feels like I'd be happier doing something else. I keep jumping on lily pads and each one sinks a little.

Yesterday I went to my parents' house where my sister and I watched the MST3k episode featuring The Final Sacrifice, the film that introduced Zap Rowsdower to the world. It's a film that reminds us that Star Wars wouldn't work as well set in Alberta, with beefy guys in ski masks replacing storm troopers, a smirking dork in place of Darth Vader, and a portly, middle aged man with a mullet in place of Han Solo.

And I watched the new episode of Venture Brothers last night. The show's still managing a good balance between parody and sincere characterisation.

My jaw has felt weird for a couple days. I'm not sure if I want to describe it as sore, or tight, or like it's made of plastic. It's strange and distracting. I hope it goes away soon and isn't related to my cavities.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arbitrary Digital Directions

At least for to-day, I've decided The Smiths' Louder than Bombs is the best album ever recorded.

Yesterday, there was much online gaming. I spent hours levelling up my World of Warcraft rogue's lockpick ability at the home of a friend. I shall refer in this entry to my friend only as the Masked Gamer, because Square Enix forced him, like all beta testers of Final Fantasy XIV, to promise not to talk about Final Fantasy XIV. I, however, made no such promise.

The Masked Gamer is well acquainted with every major mmorpg on the market right now, as well as the entire Final Fantasy series, and he tells me that Final Fantasy XIV is absolutely awful. The only good thing about it is its beautiful graphics, but that's not enough to save it from the forced interaction with the denizens of a Final Fantasy world with their characteristic inane statements in response to things your character evidently says but you're not privy to, or its terrible battle system which the Masked Gamer says has "no redeeming value."

I witnessed this battle system in action--a cinematic of some kind of giant plant monster facing off with the determined looking protagonists and player character dissolves into a wildly different scene for battle mode--the rampaging monster is now placidly wandering aimlessly in a suddenly almost empty street at night, where the cinematic had taken place during the day. Even for a Final Fantasy game, this was a pretty jarring separation between game modes, but for an mmorpg, where the point is to see what other players are doing, locking each player into isolated instances for battle doesn't make sense. It's a single player game trying to be a multiplayer game, but it's not even a particular good single player Final Fantasy game. The Masked Gamer and I agreed that Final Fantasy games have steadily decreased in quality since Final Fantasy VI and now it seems Square Enix is just cynically exploiting the name.

I took part in an impromptu chess tournament yesterday with four other people in Second Life yesterday. I played four games total, winning two and losing two. Once again, I found chess to be a better experience when I played in the afternoon and sober. Unfortunately, I'm usually busy doing other things in the afternoon.

Last night, I drank this;

I'd had regular mead the previous two nights, Friday night was particularly wonderful. I don't think I remember ever enjoying mead as much as I did that night, I think because I managed to heat it to just the right temperature. That was Chaucer's mead.

This Rabbit's Foot stuff is a whole different animal, with much lower alcohol content, it's essentially ale fermented with honey. I drank it chilled, and while I didn't hate it, I was reminded again that I really need to stop trying to find ale or beer I actually like. It always just tastes like piss. This one tasted kind of like honey, too, though, so it wasn't so bad.

But it started beating me up just four hours after I went to bed. I got up and watched thirty minutes of The Shining while my guts settled down. Gods, I love that movie.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rare Eyes

I'm oddly proud of myself for actually managing to watch the first episode of a new television series last night, Genndy Tartakovsky's Sym-Bionic Titan. A really amazing, beautiful show. Great atmosphere, action sequences very well put together, and, most importantly, genuinely interesting characters who immediately make you interested in what decisions they're going to make based on what's happening.

It's a giant robot series, the idea being that the three main characters, aliens Ilana, Lance, and Octus, represent heart, body, and mind, respectively--"Heart, Body, Mind" is sort of the slogan of the Galalunan royal family, to which Princess Ilana is the sole heir. Lance is her bodyguard and potential love interest, and Octus is their robot servant. So far, it's easy to see how the writers have used the dichotomy as prompts for the characters--All of Ilana's decisions are based on defence and on concern for other, Lance hardly ever resists fighting someone, and, of course, the robot is the most rational of the three, not only supplying raw information, but quickly establishing himself at the beginning as someone who will interrupt the teenage drama between the other two to bring things back to the really pressing matters at hand ("This planet is called Earth, in case you were wondering").

I felt sort of obligated to watch the show because the video I posted of Genndy Tartakovsky discussing it at Comic-Con is by far my most viewed video on YouTube--apparently mine is the only footage of Tartakovsky at Comic-Con this year.

Tartakovsky also discussed the show having a strong female lead, in response to someone in the audience asking the other show creators for more strong, female characters. I got to thinking about that yesterday, and I started thinking about how few movies there are that are told from the point of view of a female character. And I don't mean necessarily movies about a female character. Breakfast at Tiffany's is really from the perspective of George Peppard's character. His relative lack of personality helps to make him a vessel by which we view Audrey Hepburn's character. I also wouldn't consider Amelie to be a movie from the perspective of a female character--the beginning of the film that gives us a miniature documentary on Amelie's family establishes such a strong omniscient third person presence that the movie has always felt to me like watching people in a beautiful diorama.

To give you an idea of what I mean, I've compiled a top ten list of movies told mainly from the perspectives of female characters. Bear in mind the order for me might change at any moment.

10. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

A lot of the films of Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi are about the difficulties women face in Japanese culture. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs features Hideko Takamine in every scene, much like many of Naruse's films, dealing with the many difficulties put before her in the most reasonable manner she can. In Floating Clouds, she's almost a martyred saint to the callousness of the men in her life. Here she's more of an ordinary woman in world that leaves her in various ways at the mercy of men and cutthroat business practices.

9. Heavenly Creatures

Peter Jackson's film about the real life Parker-Hulme murder is probably his best work and is told from the perspective of Pauline Parker, one of the murderers. Taking her point of view allows us to seamlessly explore the delirious and vibrant fantasy world she creates with her accomplice.

8. Suspiria

A lot of great horror movies are told from the perspective of a female character, as they have an extra, built in perceived vulnerability (though a chainsaw is a great equaliser) and it's more credible when other characters patronisingly dismiss their fully rational fears. Being told from the female character helps give the viewer the feeling of being trapped. Though in Suspiria several characters do believe her about the strange goings on at the dancing school where she's boarding, the screenplay, originally written for child characters, infantilises Harper's fellow female students, further establishing their vulnerability to the strange, authoritative menace.

7. The Lady Eve

Though there are scenes told from the perspective of Henry Fonda's character, the fact that Barbara Stanwyck here is the manipulator while Fonda's usually in the dark is a big part of the appeal of this film.

6. Suspicion

Much of what I said about Suspiria applies here, in respect to the vulnerability of a female character and the lack of respect her opinion is given by the other characters. Cary Grant here is wonderfully menacing, despite the happy ending the studio forced Hitchcock to give this film.

5. Cat People (1942)

This one takes the point of view of its female lead even though a lot of the movie is shot from the apparent perspective of the male lead and his mistress. This is because nearly all the characters are established as so vapid one can't help sympathising instead with Simone Simon's character, who's ostensibly the villain. A similar effect is achieved with Leave Her to Heaven, and both films thereby successfully make points about the unfair expectations applied to women in 1940s America.

4. Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki's films often feature strong female leads, though this is one of the few that's told totally from the perspective of one female character, Chihiro, who's in nearly every scene.

3. Mulholland Drive

You can't get much more embedded in a character's point of view than you do in this film.

2. Black Narcissus

Nearly everything is presented through Sister Clodagh and all the obstacles in the film relate back to her. The film switches briefly to Sister Ruth's point of view near the end, but this seems to work as she most brashly embodies the needs Clodagh has increasing difficulty repressing in this film.

1. Notorious

There are scenes definitely from the perspective of Cary Grant's character, but mostly this film is concerned with Ingrid Bergman's attempt to gain insight into the real heart of the aloof character Grant plays while other male characters, implacably judgemental and ready to exploit Bergman's character, act as obstacles and walls in a labyrinth Bergman must navigate.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frenzies for Bread

The ducks have been in a frenzy lately;

Music is "Dirty Fight" from the soundtrack to the original Dirty Pair television series.

I took some stale buns down to the river last night, expecting to spend a relaxing ten minutes with the ducks. But the moment they saw me, they started walking towards me in a wave and all three buns were gone with blinding speed. To-day when I went down with another three buns, I only saw four ducks lounging under a tree. But the moment I tossed a bit of bread their way, a mob of ducks appeared from seemingly nowhere and the situation in the above film developed. One duck yanked a whole bun out of my hand, so it went even faster than last night. When I ran out, they tried to eat the camera, as you can see from the video, and after I shut off the camera I sat there a little while as they continually bit at my fingers and the tiny crumbs on my knees. I finally scared them off when I reached over a couple to take a small piece of plastic away from one, who I was afraid would choke on it.

This morning I watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's announcements for rallies they're going to hold on the National Mall, parodying Glenn Beck's rally. While I sympathise with Stewart's desire to promote a more reasonable approach to social and political issues, I don't quite agree with his usual perspective of both sides being equally paranoid. We're seeing Tea Party candidates, like Christine O'Donnell, actually win nominations. While at this point, I still think there's good reason to think this just means Democrats are going to win those seats, I do think it really says something scary about the intellectual laziness of the American people.

But I do hope Stewart and Colbert's rally draws enough people to make Glenn Beck's look appropriately ridiculous.

Twitter Sonnet #183

Bandit mirrors step through infinity.
Five step stairs are actually endless.
Furniture store fake books found Kennedy.
To normal thieves, cardboard locks are useless.
Soft suitcases ruin travel gardens.
Athletic mice forget the sequoia.
Amoral termites are heavy burdens.
Grape leaks with lucidity of Goya.
Amber paint crashed a plastic pink bottle.
A coffee's paper sleeve clothed naked mead.
Dolphins are much too silly to coddle.
There's no end to what water mammals need.
Impatient beaks break the web of old dough.
Simulated crops line a phoney row.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Love this Song

At the Mountains of Sadness

Before The Satanic Verses, I'd been reading At the Mountains of Madness again, I guess in anticipation of Guillermo del Toro's upcoming film adaptation of it. The movie's being produced by James Cameron, who recently said;

The thing about Lovecraft is he left a lot to the imagination. He never told you what they looked like. He managed to create a sense of creeping horror without specifics.

From At the Mountains of Madness;

"Objects are eight feet long all over. Six-foot, five-ridged barrel torso three and five-tenths feet central diameter, one foot end diameters. Dark grey, flexible, and infinitely tough. Seven-foot membranous wings of same colour, found folded, spread out of furrows between ridges. Wing framework tubular or glandular, of lighter grey, with orifices at wing tips. Spread wings have serrated edge. Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five systems of light grey flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over three feet. Like arms of primitive crinoid. Single stalks three inches diameter branch after six inches into five substalks, each of which branches after eight inches into small, tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of twenty-five tentacles.

"At top of torso blunt, bulbous neck of lighter grey, with gill-like suggestions, holds yellowish five-pointed starfish-shaped apparent head covered with three-inch wiry cilia of various prismatic colours. Head thick and puffy, about two feet point to point . . ."

And here we can see what Cameron's talking about. "About two feet?!" Well, is it two feet or not? Come on, HP, you gonna tell us exactly how long it is or what? What the fuck? I'm completely in the dark and frankly frightened by the omission of detail.

Actually that's just the beginning of a character's long, careful description of one of the monsters in At the Mountains of Madness that segues into that character's description of a dissection of the creature. To be fair, it would be easy for Cameron to miss this kind of detail if over two thirds of the pages were missing from his copy of At the Mountains of Madness.

Gods, everything that guy says and does nowadays gives me douche chills. At least he's not directing. Though of course I'm feeling more and more like a drooling idiot in a strait jacket for seeing nothing particularly good about Avatar. I look and I just can't see what most people evidently see. So for all I know, Cameron might've been saying something really insightful about Lovecraft. All I can do is pound my head on the wall and scream gibberish.

At least I don't hate Lady Gaga. I can desperately, feverishly cling to that. I don't really enjoy Lady Gaga, but I don't hate her. I like that she's sort of weird. I thought the meat dress was gross, but a lot of people do. That's something, right?

I heard clips the other day from Oprah Winfrey's season premiere of people screaming shrilly for her before she announced she was having John Travolta fly them all to Australia. As usual, I can only stand outside the school of humanity and watch it sway and sparkle with alien colours.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Faking Looks

I've just returned from my latest trip to the dentist where I was told, after my teeth had been scraped and polished a bit, "You're not bleeding nearly as much. Which is good."

"Well, it sounds good," I said. This was a sort of follow up to the cleanings I'd gotten a couple months ago and in that time apparently my gums have mostly healed. I'm almost doing as well as my dentist would like. That's what brushing three times a day, flossing, and rinsing with extra strength Listerine twice a day gets me. My mouth is irrepressibly filthy. And I've still got seventeen cavities, of course. The head dentist still won't make an appointment for me to get the crowns, fillings, and extractions I need, as my next appointment, four months from now, is for more cleaning business. I guess I need to be really spic and span before we get serious. Or the guy got really offended when he saw I was reading The Satanic Verses and decided the Christian thing to do was to leave my teeth to the wolves.

It was strange. I sat in the chair with my usual dentist sitting nearby, waiting for the head guy to show up, and reading. He came in the room, greeted me, and asked me what I was reading. "The Satanic Verses," I said.

"Oh . . . are they good?"

"They're okay. They're a bit like William S. Burroughs."

"Ah, let's have a look here." He looked at my teeth, said goodbye, and I didn't hear a word about my cavities. At least this means I'll be able to eat like a normal person for a few more months, but I really would like to get this over with.

Twenty six pages into The Satanic Verses and I'm finding it's not a bad book, though also not hugely exciting. I'm finding it sort of insightful at times--I particularly liked this bit, when two characters are falling from an exploded airplane at the beginning;

Let's face it: it was impossible for them to have heard one another, much less conversed and also competed thus in song. Accelerating towards the planet, atmosphere roaring around them, how could they? But let's face this, too: they did.

Which neatly seems to say something about the human need to find meaning in existence and argue with one another about it. Stuff like that I like, but I also find the book's sort of ironic distance from its characters a little tiresome. I guess one aspect might not be able to exist without the other, though.

Modavia Fashion Week is going on right now in Second Life, so I went to check it out last night. I saw a lot of pretty avatars, a few utterly grotesque avatars, and picked up a lot of freebies. All the stuff for sell was ludicrously overpriced, of course, especially considering most of it looked like shit. I found a sandbox and tried on a bunch of the freebies. This is supposed to be hair;

Yes, hair, not a hat. I guess it's Dragon Ball Z chic.

These shoes by a designer called Anuda weren't so bad;

And there's nothing really wrong with this dress by B! Fashions;

It gets points from me for not having glitch pants, but I see the future as being in more prims--bodices that look like body paint just don't cut it for me anymore. Dig this full prim bikini by Bare Rose;

No awkward little texture zigzags--it actually looks like an object separable from the avatar. How come Bare Rose can do this with a cheap, 150l outfit while fashion big shots at Modavia are charging 600l for whole outfits made of textures?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Noise is Too Bright

Last night's tequila's sitting on me to-day like a sobbing sumo wrestler. I don't want to do anything but press my face to the desk. Bloobity fuck, wa-ow.

I wrote the script for my comic's next chapter on Sunday, did the rough drawings yesterday, and felt like last night was my last night of freedom or whatever and I just completely did the vegetable. I messed around with Second Life, unable to find someone to play chess with. Then I took my tequila and played World of Warcraft with it, listening to Howard Stern and levelling to 43 with my rogue.

Everything was pretty much okay, but to-day I'm angry at the world and how it works. Why the fuck do people got to be so stupid to each other? It's like . . . I feel like stupid things are happening and there's nothing I can do about it. Fuck the stupid things, wherever the fuck they are . . .

Buwuuuh. Here's last night's spider in my bathroom. I named him Moses.

Twitter Sonnet #182

Beetle in prison stripes died at the curb.
Counterweight crescent sinks beyond night trees.
Pay monthly for a sign; "do not disturb."
Submerged light bulbs are simple to appease.
Three olives bond at martini bottom.
Foggy vodka dilutes the fish's shit.
Wonka made mint underwear for Adam.
Eve's vermouth proved her straw sweater's loose knit.
Digital beer gives a satyr prestige.
Backward water ruins a whole bottle.
Tarot card castles fall to cookie siege.
Fortune favours rubber fists on throttle.
Can't reach my browser however I click.
A square of hair leaves bald dreams greenly sick.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Bugs We Can Be

I took a bunch of pictures of bees to-day at University Town Centre mall.

They were going at the flowers next to a bridge I've always liked. It connects the mall to another shopping centre across the busy street and is covered with vines.

I was walking across the bridge to get to the book store, where I bought a copy of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Before reading to-day about a woman threatened with stoning by Tehran for proliferating The Satanic Verses in the UK, I was already wanting to peruse the book because apparently it references "The Mutants", the Doctor Who serial I'd just finished watching.

According to Wikipedia;

This serial is mentioned in Salman Rushdie's controversial novel The Satanic Verses, where it is criticised for alleged racist attitudes. Writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin, as well as producer Barry Letts, actually intended for the story to have an anti-racist message.

Following Wikipedia's source link, I ended up on this BBC Doctor Who page which says, in its trivia section;

Author Salman Rushdie refers to The Mutants in his controversial book The Satanic Verses and implies that the programme's characterisation of mutations as evil just because they look different from human beings encourages racist attitudes. He thereby completely misses the point of the story, which in fact has an anti-racist message.

Considering The Satanic Verses is a fiction novel, I found it difficult to imagine how a direct opinion about the Doctor Who serial could be expressed in the narrative without coming across merely as a character's opinion. And sure enough, I found the quote from The Satanic Verses in this guy's Doctor Who blog, who seems to have a rather similar attitude to myself regarding the issue of whether or not "The Mutants" is racist.

It seemed to him, as he idled across the channels, that the box was full of freaks: there were mutants - 'Mutts' - on Dr Who, bizarre creatures who appeared to have been crossbred with different types of industrial machinery: forage harvesters, grabbers, donkeys, jackhammers, saws, and whose cruel priest-chieftains were called Mutilasians; children's television appeared to be exclusively populated by humanoid robots and creatures with metamorphic bodies, while the adult programmes offered a continual parade of the misshapen human by-products of the newest notions in modern medicine, and its accomplices, modern disease and war.

I was reminded of my complaints about the Argonians, the lizard people, in Oblivion, who, apart from being scaly and having lizard faces, are treated really no differently from the humans in Oblivion societies--they have exactly the same scope of personalities and culture. I know why Bethesda can't let lizard people be lizard people--a weird, misguided sense of political correctness that insists that any alien or faerie creature must be a metaphor for a human ethnic group and any suggestion that monsters and aliens have fundamentally different brains from humans is racist.

The quote from The Satanic Verses doesn't seem to me to be calling "The Mutants" racist, and I didn't find "The Mutants" to be particularly racist or anti-racist, unless the idea is to suggest black people are one day going to change into omnipotent, rainbow coloured glowing beings.

The serial isn't one of the better Doctor Who serials I've seen, but I loved the idea of a sentient race that goes through a life cycle beginning with a larval state that looks human, a pupae state that looks like a giant bug, and a final state that's something else all together. Though that final state ended up being a bit cheesy--I'd rather like to see the serial remade by David Cronenberg, graphically showing bug parts appearing on the people and ending up with them as terrifically powerful, naked, screeching, radioactive motherfuckers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kirei Nihon to Kochu

Last night, I watched Tim play a beta version of Final Fantasy XIV.

Final Fantasy XIV's an mmorpg like Final Fantasy XI and features a lot of similarities with that game--apparently the player races are all the same but with different names. One of the things that seemed to make a strong impression on Tim, an avid mmorpg player who's tried all the major ones and has extensively played World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy XI and Linneage II, is that Final Fantasy XIV features an elaborate professions system. Where things like tailoring and fishing are optional side-jobs in WoW, they're dedicated classes in FFXIV with sub-classes. There are classes such as carpenter, gardener, and chef, and I saw a default avatar with a skillet strapped to her belt. Final Fantasy XI featured similar jobs, and Tim told me people could make quite a lot of in-game money selling things like bedposts to people looking to deck out the homes granted to players in FFXI. Which sounds something like Second Life to me, only with fake money.

I had a vision of Final Fantasy XIV taking off in the U.S. and thousands of Americans paying ten dollars a month to pretend to be landscapers, cooks, and gardeners while illegal immigrants outside performed landscaping, cooking, and gardening services. Who'd have thought such an ironic existence would ever be so close to reality.

Of course, Final Fantasy XIV is beautiful, something American mmorpgs have yet to manage. Tim remarked that Asian mmorpgs tend to be very beautiful with little content, while American mmorpgs work out to be the opposite. If only they could learn to pool resources.

When I got back from Tim's house, I saw this strange beetle on the curb outside;

I found myself in the mood for a Japanese movie last night, so I watched Kenji Mizoguchi's 1955 Shin Heike Monogatari. I'm used to Mizoguchi's films being challengingly feminist, generally featuring female protagonists put in difficult situations by traditional Japanese society. So I was surprised to find Shin Heike Monogatari not only featured a male protagonist, but also a fairly conventional story about a young samurai of questionable birth caught up in the middle of a national conflict between nobility and clergy.

The film's also unusual for being set in late Heian period (794–1185) Japan. Most Japanese period films seem to be set in the Edo period (1603–1868). I wish there were half as many detailed films set in the European Middle Ages as there are set in feudal Japan.

Shin Heike Monogatari is a decent samurai film, though Mizoguchi doesn't seem to have any taste for action sequences. Sweeping shots of monks carrying naginata and torches through bright green forest were absolutely beautiful.

Shot in Eastmancolor, everything looks a little washed out which sort of adds to its delicate beauty, like the printed silks I see at Japanese stores. I was oddly excited to see this woman dying cloth in a pond as I've been reading about medieval textile industry in Flanders lately. Yes, I lead a very exciting life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

People and Pieces

Twitter Sonnet #181

Batter bailed from glasses freezes too fast.
Wind gods go hoarse breathing on my lenses.
Diets for colossi cut hems to last.
Acid shears flesh off they who've lost senses.
Formica legs scramble on hockey ice.
Distilled liquid denim makes dry cocktails.
Steel cylinder people for no blink twice.
Intelligent germs are obsessed with whales.
Waves crush shrimp before they see a mammal.
Bare shark jaws still swallow antsy children.
Fake spit goes far as that of a camel.
A push pin dips Germany at Berlin.
A cold camera captures no solar flare.
Gravity's accident of silverware.

After months of losing, I finally won a chess game a few minutes ago.

I was playing white, and my final move was the Bishop from e3 to f4. I'd completely expected to lose until that moment. I suppose the fact that I seem to have little strategic foresight may be part of why I don't generally do too well. The guy I was playing against, to whom I almost always lose, had worked hard to get one of my Rooks early in the game--he was able to make inroads with his Queen and Knight when I castled on the Queen's side. After a lot of careful manoeuvring, he forked my Queen and Rook with his Knight. Then I got lucky when he moved the pawn from b7 to b6 to protect his c5 pawn, accidentally leaving his Rook on a8 open to a Bishop I had on g2. And since he'd sacrificed his Knight to get my Rook, and my Bishop escaped the operation unscathed, I had a good leg up after that, all due to that stroke of luck. Even so, as you can see his pawns were advancing across the field.

This could all just be karma from when I helped an old lady load water bottles into her cart at CostCo. I was at a CostCo in another part of town, where they had Glenlivet for twenty dollars and big bottles of Grey Goose for thirty. I only wish I'd had more than two dollars on me. I was noticing there were a lot more pretty, young female employees at that CostCo than at the one nearer to where I live. More pretty girls in general, actually--I saw one girl crossing the street with a really strange walk. I've never seen someone with less bounce in their step. If a big, Warner Brothers brush had painted over her legs, her torso would've looked like it was being dragged across by a mouse cursor.

The music where I play chess isn't as good as it used to be, so I've been listening to my own randomised mp3s and flacs. These two songs came on next to each other and seemed oddly appropriate to-day;

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Kettle

Good afternoon.

It's been a pretty lazy day for me. I slept in to 9:30am, watched Ranma 1/2 while eating breakfast ("A Woman's Love is War! The Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics Challenge!") then drove downtown, walked six blocks, saw a minor car accident, walked past some relaxed looking guys, one of whom was saying, "I didn't think I hit him that hard," ate an enormous burrito, bought a coffee, got back in my car, and drove to the grocery store.

Colouring for twelve hours yesterday, I consequently listened to twelve hours of The Howard Stern Show. I listen to the show for comedy, not for Stern's political opinions, which usually aren't very well formed. I've found his holding forth on how he feels building the "Ground Zero Mosque" is a bad idea when considering the feelings of New Yorkers to be tedious. Stern lives and works in New York, was broadcasting on 9/11, while I live on the other side of the country, so I especially don't feel equipped to talk about how he or other New Yorkers ought to feel. Though personally I'm less inclined nowadays to see religion as inherently destructive. I think religion is just often a convenient excuse for man's violent instincts, and the 9/11 hijackers oughtn't to be associated with Islam any more than any Christian murderous asshole. It's hard to see anything especially sinister about the so-called mosque, actually a community centre, and it would seem to be a positive thing for Muslim New Yorkers. It's hard for me to feel uneasy about any place with a food court.

George Takei, who frequently sits in on the Stern Show, had an interesting perspective a few weeks ago, saying he understood Stern's uneasiness, but that the protests against the community centre were reminiscent to him of attitudes in America that led to he and his family being forced to live in internment camps during World War II. So the news about a pastor planning to burn copies of the Qur'an to-morrow wasn't entirely surprising to me, though the backlash he received from nearly every prominent corner of American discourse was a bit heartening. It's nice to see America has improved somewhat in the past sixty years. And I'd like to congratulate media circulation for this. Maybe even Star Trek. I think there's actually a keener sense of shame now for divisive public actions and statements.

Anyway, I think I'll go find another lazy activity. Remember, new Venia's Travels to-day.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Venia Is Still Trying to Get Things to Work

The new Venia's Travels is online. And I'm tired.

The Unsuspecting Arms of Fish

Still colouring. I've been colouring since I started eating breakfast at 9am. I hate when I leave so much for the last day, but oh well. It's still not as bad as chapter 43. I ought to be done within a couple hours.

Even though Pertwee's my favourite so far, I've found myself missing the second Doctor lately, Patrick Troughton. I skipped nearly all the serials that had any missing episodes and since there are a lot of missing episodes from Troughton's run, it felt especially short. Last night I watched the one surviving episode of "Evil of the Daleks", which had the Doctor and companion Jamie travelling back to the Victorian era. Just the few moments of parlour room business gave me a glimpse of how great Doctor Who episodes in the Victorian era could be. I don't understand why there seem to be so few.

And then I realised there simply hasn't been any third Doctor episodes dealing with travel into the past so far. Looking ahead carefully (I hate spoilers of any kind) I can see it looks like there's only one serial where he goes back in time. Looks like the Middle Ages, so I'm excited, but I wish there were more. I finished watching "The Sea Devils" serial last night, which wasn't bad, though I thought it was the weakest one of the past two seasons. Still, I loved the Doctor in a sword fight with the Master and all the Venusian Judo going on. I didn't expect Pertwee to kick so much ass. And I like how the little below the table romance is developing between him and Jo--it's so in their body language. And I'm not even talking about the moment where they're blatantly holding hands when they run across the beach;

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bird Food

This is an earth worm I saw to-day;

Music by Nobuo Uematsu from the Final Fantasy soundtrack (the first one). I saw all kinds of things I normally don't see to-day as I went out almost as soon as I got up--I had so much to do outside the house to-day I decided to grab breakfast while I was out. Among other things, I bought a birthday present for someone--I feel like I've been locked in an era of birthdays. I didn't think I knew so many people.

I pencilled the last two pages of the next chapter of my comic to-day. I'm a bit behind on colouring, so I expect I'll be doing that all day to-morrow. This didn't stop me from looking to play chess last night. Here's Tou vamping while waiting for an opponent;

I played someone I'd never played before--I lost, of course. And it was another close game--it ended after two hours with both of us having a queen, a knight, and four pawns. That's the thing, I lose all the time, but it's always close. Which seems really improbable. At least I had the better avatar;

The other person was using a male avatar, which I'll never understand. While I'm posting pictures of Tou, here are some pictures I took of her dancing at a really nice looking mask shop called Illusions a while ago;

They sell really nice accessories, mostly masks. They're all over-priced, but I bought some antlers there I really like.

Twitter Sonnet #180

Cathedral columns in pants move shadows.
Burnt bee eyes glower beneath mantle hood.
Violets splatter over bone white meadows.
Ingrown petals stab the deep buried good.
Cats leash wired humans for liberty.
Cell phone veins are anti-feline agents.
Noon secretly shows up at ten thirty.
Flightless birds are bandwidth baron regents.
Tetris curtains collapse in safe stone slime.
Cables open the red fly's abdomen.
Burrito creatures are gagged with a lime.
A lotto blender sucks in a human.
Underground copter blades dig a tower.
Inverted stones seep a molten shower.

And here's last night's spider in my bathroom;

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Real Stingers

I went out to lunch to-day and saw this wasp as I was heading back to my car. I decided to follow her around a while.

I've always been a big fan of wasps. I used to draw wasps all the time in the margins of my notebooks at school. I think this one's a paper wasp. She didn't try to attack me at all.

I think I had an apocalyptic hangover yesterday, which may have been due to a combination of four slices of pizza and a glass of scotch for dinner. I seem to be feeling a lot better to-day, and a lot more motivated. I lost four games of chess last night, playing even worse than I usually do. I was at least putting up a fight by the fourth game, but I knew it was time to quit. Yes, four games in I achieved that foresight.

I just can't seem to win at chess at all anymore. It's been months, stretches where I play three games a night. The guy I play with most of the time remarked once that he felt he and I were at about the same skill level. "Yeah, except you always win," I said, to which he didn't have a reply. But he wasn't out of his mind making that statement because our games usually run out the timer and he usually wins by getting one piece ahead of me and whittling me down. It's something I'm getting almost superstitious about.