Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo
Sat-Sun Oct 29-30
Barry White passed away today at the age of 58. That's the suck.
His canyon-deep, butter-smooth vocals emphasized his songs' sexually charged verbal foreplay, like on 1975's "Love Serenade," which began with White purring: "I want you the way you came into the world, I don't want to feel no clothes ..."
I have to admit, I'd love to have an obituary that was half as cool as that one.
Full story at CNN.com.
Sometimes I swear the Americans are like the anti-Japanese of pop culture. Japanese manufacturers take existing products and perfect them; Americans take existing pop culture and completely trash it. Why can't they leave what's good alone? Or come up with original material for a change?
Exhibit A: Father Ted
Father Ted gets US remake
The world does not need a US remake of Father Ted The world needs a Father Ted remake like it needs an orange-juice-and-silverfish enema. American producers cannot possibly get this right. Half the fun of the original series is how offensive or ignorant the attitudes of the main characters are, which is unlikely to be carried over to an American version. ... although, don't think I wouldn't jump at watching an episode called "Kicking Cardinal Law Up the Arse."
Father Ted quotes make Kitty happy
Exhibit B: The Office
The Office also gets a US remake
Yeah, that's going to be successful. A comedy based on subtle jokes, long awkward pauses, offensive behavior in the workplace, and an utter dick of a main character. And they think this will be successful in the US ... how? Even with original Office creator Ricky Gervais helping out with the writing, I predict a bland, lame, Dilbert clone full of wacky office folks and jokes about e-mail. Boooo. And don't get me started on their basing the show in Los Angeles, of all places. Doesn't that go against the "dull office in a really dull town" premise?
Silly clips of David Brent make Kitty happy again
Honestly, you'd think nobody learned a thing from the
A neat interview with Alan Moore that focuses more on the man and not as much on his works:
"Give Me Moore", courtesy of the Sunday Herald (Scotland)
And when I say "the man", I mean that tiny portion of him that isn't entirely taken over by his beard and hair. Swear to god, I think it's the beard that's doing the writing nowadays. Alan just follows its commands inbetween holding services for the Sock Puppet God. ... damn, I love this guy.
The film adaptation of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is scheduled to be released this coming Friday. I don't know what to make of it ... they've veered so much from the source material that I expect to be disappointed, but at the same time James Robinson can be a good writer when he needs to be, and it looks like a fun campy action film. And I'm the one person who actually enjoyed Wild Wild West. So maybe this'll be good. Or not. Stay tuned for happy skipping and jumping or else full blathering rants.
Also, a side note to anyone groaning about Tom Sawyer's inclusion in the film as an adult, I have to point out that Mark Twain did in fact go on to write sequels Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective, so there is some literary source to the new version of the character.
Review of Mark Twain's other works
PASSENGERS WILL HOLD TICKETS. SURRENDER TO DRIVER WHEN LEAVING COACH.
AS A COURTESY TO YOUR DRIVER PLEASE REFRAIN FROM PUTTING YOUR TICKET IN YOUR MOUTH.
I went to see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tonight. I will now talk at some length. Warning: massive spoilers!
This just in from the San Diego Comic-Con International: LoEG Volume 3 is green-lighted. Sweet! Here are the details:
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 3 is a go. Set in 1910, the next storyline will feature Mina Harker heavily, while the remainder of the original team will go to the wayside. The new volume will go back in time to an earlier League, and may, according to artist Kevin O'Neil, travel forward to the 1950's.
(although - "Mina Harker"? She goes by "Mina Murray" in the book, guys, and quite deliberately. Quit using the movie as your info source.)
"After a few minutes he became absorbed. It was the strangest book that he had ever read. It seemed to him that in exquisite raiment, and to the delicate sound of flutes, the sins of the world were passing in dumb show before him. Things that he had dimly dreamed of were suddenly made real to him. Things of which he had never dreamed were gradually revealed."
Because I am a shameless (but literary) fangirl, I've been rereading The Picture of Dorian Gray, inspired by LXG last week (at least something good came out of seeing that film).
One thing that struck me was the similarity of the corrupting yellow book that Dorian reads in Chapter 10 to The King in Yellow, a fictional book tangentially related to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos - a book that corrupts its readers and often drives them mad, if they manage to finish it at all.
What a crossover that would be!
Congrats to sidesh0w for a great presentation on the advantages of using CSS for layout and presentation. Megakudos to you, fella!
the latest books
Revenge by Stephen Fry - a modernized version of The Count of Monte Cristo (or so the flap says - haven't actually read that one). A popcorn book that you can read in a weekend. Quick summary: Three guys conspire to set up a guy they can't stand for an embarrassment, but their plan spirals out of control and gets him sent away for a larger crime ... for twenty years. Pretty fluffy, not-very-solid ending, but still lots of fun to read.
James Bond Movie Posters: The Official 007 Collection - I miss the days of cool movie posters, especially those that were illustrated rather than just slammed together as a photomontage. It seems like everything nowadays is just "This guy's face, half in shadow" or "These three folks facing the camera against a white background." Bo-ring. Check out this James Bond collection for some cool-ass movie posters, the way they oughtta be. The ones that really crack me up are the older ones that don't just show a picture - they also throw you a bunch of "exciting" copy. "Now ... meet the most extraordinary gentleman spy in all fiction ... JAMES BOND, Agent 007! Double "0" means he has a license to kill when he chooses ... where he chooses ... whom he chooses!" HA HA HA! I'd love to see modern films come up with that kind of stuff.
the latest films
Not what I thought would be my cup of tea, but ... ... ... man, that teaser for Mel Gibson's The Passion is actually kind of intriguing. Damn! ... does Berlitz offer courses in Latin and Aramaic? Wait, all joking aside, is Aramaic still actually spoken anywhere? Or did they do some kind of Stargate-esque language reconstruction?
the latest in entertainment
Oh man, Bob Hope died! Somewhere, there is a Time Magazine guy who is secretly very happy to finally put to use the Bob Hope memorial spread he's had on file for the last twenty years.
the latest typographical hijinks
Helvetica vs. Arial - this time it's personal!
the latest buzzwords around my office
Hammertoes, fissured tongues, bunions, black socks, Jerry Orbach
"And we did it in a hammock! ... there was a hammock there, and we did it in it! ... I'm surprised we didn't fall out ... I can't believe we didn't get caught!"
I'm following the reports of the Vatican's edict against same-sex marriage, and I can't decide whether I want to laugh derisively or kick things.
If their reason is that these unions are not procreative, then why aren't they also campaigning against unions of infertile couples and the elderly who are past procreative age?
If the issue is the preservation the sanctity of marriage, can they prove to me that they have also protested against Married by America, The Bachelor, drive-through Las Vegas wedding chapels, and other facets of modern culture that mock and demean marriage?
If these unions are "unnatural," as they claim, are they also planning on writing edicts against other things that don't occur in nature like fertility treatments, life support, and polio vaccines?
Hey JP, be a man! Be consistent in acting on your beliefs, or else 'fess up with honest reasons for the pamplets you put out.
What the hell is this?
And this! What the hell is this?
and in other news ...
Yeah, I already went and found Pirates of the Caribbean slash. Do you even have to ask anymore? :D
Hearty congratulations to newly confirmed Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson. Go forward and do your best!
This in spite of an eleventh hour painfully obvious attempt at buying time, too. And really! That was like something out of an 80's comedy movie - as hamhanded and "strategic" as stranding the members of Lambda Lambda Lambda on that desert island so that they wouldn't be able to participate in the fraternity vote.
Man, if I weren't already enrolled in what's supposed to be an immense timesink of a night school course for the fall, I might seriously think of signing up for this local adult ed course:
The Prisoner: A Televisionary Masterpiece
The Prisoner, first broadcast to an unsuspecting British TV audience in 1976, is considered one of the most startling and outstanding TV shows ever produced. In this class, we will watch and analyze several episodes to consider how a great TV epic was created, the nature of TV culture, and the place of significant works in it. We will discuss the show as an allegory of modern politics, technology and media in terms of the question of freedom. Text required: Alain Carraze & Helene Oswald’s The Prisoner. This class is an introduction to the study of pop culture. Limited to 16.
I'm going to Dublin (and thereabouts) for a week.
Anyone who wants a postcard sent or who has any other requests, please send me a message.
... I feel pretty silly. I'm realizing now how little I actually know about Liechtenstein. To me it's always been the source of a trivia question, one of those dots on the map that you use to test sixth graders ("Monaco ... Andorra ... and Liechtenstein! Yay, five points extra credit!").
I was all set to provide some interesting facts taken from their official websites, but I don't speak the official state language, German. Bah, I am useless. Instead, here is BBC's country profile.
I wonder if Liechtenstein needs web developers?
This is Kitty reporting live from Dublin. At the last report, 8:30 this evening, the city rules.
And godalmighty, I know more now about the 1916 uprising than I ever thought I would. I'm a big, big history nerd. But I'm a history nerd who got to see the General Post Office in Dublin! Suck on that!
Ireland was great. You should go there.
Details of the trip to follow, eventually. I'm distracted by the aforementioned timesink of a night school course.
In the meantime, here is a fun list of things that would have been really unexpected if they'd dropped from the ceiling in the middle of that meeting I attended today:
macaroni and cheese
souvenir miniatures of Big Ben
hailstones made out of lemonade
Here comes Tarzan, another primetime fantasy/supernatural drama in the great tradition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville.
Start your bingo cards, everyone! Check these off these standard supernatural drama stock plots as you spot 'em:
Courtesy of one of my current instructors:
On someone's bad design decision for a homework assignment:
That's gonna be ten miles of bad road there.
On the selection tools in Photoshop:
And then the dancing ants appear ...
Cutting a decent slit in your finger with a bread knife while slicing an english muffin.
Getting a piece of dental floss caught in the slit a week later when it'd nearly healed up.
In other news, I didn't think it was possible, but The Office second season episodes are even more squirmy and uncomfortable than the first season. Damn! That's an accomplishment!
Fun essay: The Matrix: Completely, Utterly Gay
After being programmed, Neo and Morpheus put on their jammies and test the limits of their physical endurance. "Faster, faster, faster," prods Morpheus. If this is not an homage to the repertoire of gay indie quasi-porn pioneer Bruce LaBruce, nothing is.
Heh heh. ... and yet, somehow, all of the related Matrix fanfic I've found flat-out sucks. Bah humbug.
This weekend I went on the Providence Ghost Walk, which was a great time. That part of Providence is fantastic - old and hilly and looming and full of history. I can understand completely why H.P. Lovecraft would set his New England-based stories there.
In honor of the big HP, here's a link to an online library of his written works:
That's some spooky shit right there. I'm rereading Ray Bradbury's The October Country for Halloween, but now I'm in the mood for an entirely different brand of scary. "Weird happenings in small-town America" is dead creepy, but now I think I'm hankering for "Giant insanity-bringing god-monsters from beyond the stars who will eat your head."
The headline or lead-in is "Splat! Bam! Pow!" or similar.
The topic of the article is "Comics aren't just for kids anymore!"
Namedrops of Superman or Batman
The article's sole purpose is to plug an upcoming comics-based movie; all other comic-related news will promptly be ignored afterwards.
Confusion between comic books and comic strips
Bingo buzzwords: Tights, capes, masks, words with the prefix "X-", "graphic novel" (double points if it's misused)
1 shot per word
"In 1799, soldiers serving under the French general Napoleon marched from Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula to Syria. In the scorching heat they drank water from every source they could find, including leech-infested ponds. As a result, tiny leeches attached to the insides of noses, mouths, and throats of many soldiers. Though small when swallowed, the leeches enlarged greatly once they gorged on blood. Many soldiers died from blood loss. Others died from suffocation when the blood-swollen leeches blocked their air passages."
From Those Amazing Leeches, available at your local library
S.F.F.! I have to give a portfolio presentation next week?
:: immediately purchases several more boxes of Barry's Tea ::
Update: It was postponed. Yay, stalling the inevitable.
Just found out that my local library carries the new short story collection Shadows Over Baker Street, a crossover of sorts between Sherlock Holmes and the Lovecraft Mythos. Nice! ::puts book on hold::
I'm interested in seeing how this turns out. It could be amazing or it could be very, very bad. I've been pleased with other Lovecraft crossover/pastiche stories I've read in the past - Scream for Jeeves, a crossover of the Lovecraft mythos and P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves stories, was a great read. But I'm not a fan of the cutesy humor Mythos stories, which mostly just irritate me. Hopefully these stories will all be in a serious vein.
In other news:
"Sweet little me at age 4 or 5. I had a favorite topping for my saltine crackers ... I made it all by myself! I chewed up one saltine cracker, then spit the thick mushy topping onto another saltine. Mmmmmm!"
- from The Hungover Gourmet, a zine about food and things
Kitty goes to see Kill Bill. Possible reassessment of the vengeance-driven film necessary.
And then there was the time that instead of doing my homework I egosurfed on Google and looked for mentions of my old fanfiction pen name.
I think that's possibly a new low, even for me.
Then again, I actually found some. Woo hoo, recs!
A couple of things of note from around the web this week:
BBC News has what's quite possibly the most stomach-turning news article about internal parasites that I've ever read.
Speak Up offers a worthwhile collection of advice for graphic design students.
Something Awful serves up a big pile of medieval tapestries you might have missed.
In other news, kittywatch: the latest issue of Moo Cow Fan Club magazine has some illustrations by Kitty! Look for the "Ancient Sparta quiz."
"Watson, not only have I been dreaming for years of doing things to you that would shock your conscience, turn your stomach, and outrage your medical sensibilities, I have for the past month been paying a male prostitute to impersonate you while I do them to him."
That's fanfic gold right there.
I don't know if it's my obsession with the medium, but I keep dreaming comics. Not about comics - the dream narrative is literally in comic form, with lots of frozen scenes of action in imitation of panels and some kind of dream-voiceover instead of captions and dialogue boxes.
One recent dream involved me being a part of a superteam that had to take down a little Japanese girl named Ichibana who had been bioengineered to be a terrible weapon. Turned out she had clones, too. Happily, it all ended well, except for the cliffhanger final page where something awful happened to our team leader and reduced him to a sheet of pulsing skin and veins clinging to a granite slab. Somehow I dream-knew that this was all an issue of Global Frequency by Warren Ellis, in spite of my never having even read that book.
The other recent dream was, as I described in my diary, "a really empowering comic book from the perspective of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice." I wish I could remember more but my alarm broke me out of it "Kubla Khan"-style and I wasn't able to get back and see how it continued.
Baked potato with lemon juice on it really does taste good.
Public speaking isn't so bad as long as you have the chance to rehearse your piece about 2,000,000 times beforehand.
There's not a whole lot of Big O fanfiction out there.
All of the really good shows on TV come on after midnight.
Not many people sell loose Barry's Tea around here. Ditto Super-B sized Epson paper.
I'm going to present my portfolio tomorrow. After that I'm going to sleep for about sixteen days.
There's a lot of stuff I never expected to see in the world. A fan video about Professor Snape set to the song "I'm Too Sexy" is one of them.
Mom, can I be Eowyn when I grow up?
Hook me up with Lonely Planet: Minas Tirith 2004. I'd like to go there now. Still enamored of that city ... it reminds me of Mont St. Michel meets Petra a bit.
Holy cow, that was one of the slashiest films I've seen in ages. Never mind subtext - that couldn't've been more gay if they'd set it in Provincetown and called it "Return of the Queen". Yah! Time to hunt down the fanfic archives!
That Rohan fella had the world's weirdest nostrils.
Look at that head orc! It's Sloth! "Sloth ... love ... Sauron!"
Watch out for the AT-AT walkers elephants there, Eowyn.
Did Sauron actually need to be up that high and exposed to keep a watch on things? Wouldn't it have been more safe to keep his eye underground and not on a precarious tower? Is this addressed in the books? I can't remember.
You know, I think I wouldn't mind living in a town full of short men who drink ale and dress vaguely like Doctor Who.
I'm totally jonesing to reread the Very Secret Diaries now.
Norfolk in the wintertime is like a scene of dying beauty. The fields and meadows hold nothing but furrowed, empty dirt, and naked trees sit silhouetted against a sky thick with washed-out clouds like a child's blanket that's been through the laundry too many times.
In other news, the Norfolk & Norwich Millennial Library is the coolest frigging library I've seen in ages. Talk about knowing the modern audience - it looks like a massive bookstore. And the online catalog is nicely done as well.
I'm back now after a week in England. We spent lots of time with family, ate an absurd amount of food, were nearly choked to death by incense at midnight services on Christmas Eve, and got a good look at the remains of a monastery that was given the Anglican smackdown by Henry VIII.
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