Yesterday I went to see local indy rockers Harry and the Potters. They're a Harry Potter-themed band, busting out tunes like "Save Ginny Weasley" and "Cornelius Fudge is an Ass". The free concert at the library was to celebrate the release of their second CD, Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock. The members of the band dress in Harry-style pullover, tie, and glasses, and refer to themselves as "Harry Year 4" and "Harry Year 7", with pre-song chatter to match ("I wrote this song back in my third year at Hogwarts; it's about my godfather.").
The show was a riot! I laughed for the entire time. They actually rocked pretty well, though at one point they rocked so hard that Harry Year 7 broke a string. Kudos to the drummer for managing to fix it, and kudos to Harry Year 4 for great patter in the meantime ("Muggle instruments are harder to fix than wizard instruments ... and we're not allowed to use magic in the summer").
Their next Boston-area show will be at the Middle East on August 3. I'm so there.
Currently reading Lonely Planet Guide to the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Fascinating read! I'd never felt any great interest in that area of the world before, but I'm easily swayed by Lonely Planet books. Might have to update the "Pipe Dream Travel To-Do" list.
Some thoughts on Spider-Man 2. The Surgeon General warns: May contain spoilers.
Apart from all of the sweet action and Doctor Octopus' white undershirt, one of the things that really caught my eye in Spider-Man 2 was the opening title sequence. Neat design! I liked how it took what was done in the first movie and built on it, adding Alex Ross illustrations to show "Previously, on Spider-Man."
Wired Magazine ran a bio/interview with Kyle Cooper, the designer of this title sequence (and those of Se7en and Arlington Road, among others). Speak Up had a good discussion going on movie intros a while back, too.
Meanwhile, I'm not having any luck finding out what typeface was used for the text in the Spider-Man titles. Rats. I did find out that Mata was used for the promotional material, but it isn't the same as what's used in the movie itself.
In other news, Jim over at Unqualified Offerings has been writing up a food-for-thought series of spidery analysis blog entries. Worth reading!
And finally, in non-spider chatter, here's a great radio interview with Alfonso "Director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" Cuaron, in which he talks about subtext in PoA, his influences, and contemporary Mexican cinema. He also busts out with the best quote ever:
"Even if they're wizards, ultimately their emotions are very human. And from the get-go, we established that relationship with the actors. For instance, Professor Lupin, played by David Thewlis...we said that he's your favorite gay uncle that does smack."
Hah! Brilliant! :: does a slash canon dance ::
Friends of yours popping out sproggen? Baby quilts are easy to make and have a more personal touch than the usual gift certificate to Sears.
They also don't take very long to assemble, once you sit down and actually get to work. Much quicker to make than the damn afghan I've been crocheting for the past three years now. I'm telling you, once that thing's done, I'll issue commemorative stamps or something.
For more info on making baby quilts, try Quilts for Baby: Easy as ABC (ignore the cutesy title). A very beginner-friendly book.
Currently working on the second issue of my minicomic Geraniums and Bacon and having a great time. Weather beautiful; wish you were here. Love, Kitty.
If you're interested in issue 1 of Geraniums and Bacon or any of the other minicomics I've been working on, please check out the new minicomics page. Thanks!
in other thoughts
Watching The Blues Brothers is ten times funnier if you pretend that the two leads are agents from The Matrix.
I've come to the world of Spider-Man about five hundred years too late - didn't read it when I was a kid, don't read the titles nowadays, everything I know is from reviews and second-hand chatter. The most exposure I've had to Spider-Man was the occasional guest-appearance in Bendis' Daredevil and crossovers with Power Pack (you in the back there - stop laughing). So after having a great time watching Spider-Man 2, I decided to catch up on spider-lore a bit by borrowing Marvel Encyclopedia: Spider-Man from the library.
Conclusion: Godalmighty, I have no idea what they're going to do for the next film, because Spider-Man's rogues gallery is crap. A lizard in a labcoat ... a guy in a rhino suit ... a mobster who hits stuff with his head? Plus I think I'm one of the three people in the western hemisphere who can't stand Venom, so rumors I've heard about the filmmakers not wanting to bring him to the screen are extremely welcome to my ears. But at the same time, he's one of the very few genuinely cool or creepy Spider-villains. What's the alternative - the Vulture? Kangaroo I? Kangaroo II?
And you learn something new every day: Sweet christ on rye, Spider-Man fought a villain named Typeface. No, really. Typeface. A guy who wasn't content just being a disgruntled former sign-maker, he also went and built letter-themed weapons. This is THE SHIT. I want a petition to get this guy in Spider-Man 3. I want to be a member of Typeface's Whiteletter Advancement Team. I want t-shirts.
Ah, in all fairness, they did a great job with Doctor "Check My Manly Shirtlessness" Octopus in Spider-Man 2, and some his original comics content can be shite itself - observe:
Anyway. Here, check out a bunch of Doc Ock-related news stories and mini-interviews with Alfred Molina:
Troublesome Doc Ock
Alfred Molina interview: "Maybe I'm just mean inside"
Alfred Molina interview: "I sang. The tentacles just watched on adoringly." (bonus: mentions "middle-age man tits")
Ode to an Octopus: One Girl's Confession of Love
And in completely unrelated news, whinecore band Nickelback is having a Clone Saga of their own ... check this to mock!
Everybody loves found type! Here are some photos of examples I found on my recent holiday in Germany. Warning: contains umlauts.
It's minicomics a go-go with the latest issue of Geraniums and Bacon, now in print! 20 black and white pages of unadulterated good times!
If you're interested in buying a copy ($1.50 per issue) or swapping for a copy (bring on the zines and minis!), please drop me a line via the minicomics contact form. Copies are also available in the minicomic section of Million Year Picnic. Thanks!
Last weekend I took this workshop, where I learned how to use a hand-operated printing press. It's called a Vandercook cylinder press - technically it's electric (the juice keeps the ink rollers in action), but the printing itself is hand-propelled (you and your muscles are the ones cranking the paper along to print on it).
During the workshop, we tugged out big drawers of metal type and leading strips and hand-set our words on type sticks. Dexterity definitely needed, plus decent eyesight to make sure that the bitty little 10 point Cheltenham letter "e" is italic and not roman. Man, my respect for old-school newspaper typesetters increased tenfold this weekend.
To keep the type in place while you're printing, you surround it with spacer blocks called "furniture". It's like a big jigsaw puzzle - how can you place the type exactly where you need it for printing and fill up all the space around it evenly to keep it from moving around? This is done by using furniture in different sizes, which can be a pain when someone else has used all of the ones you need and you have to start playing math and spatial games to get the type squared away.
Of course, that's the time when I'm looking down at all of the awkward empty spaces around my type and thinking, Man, if I were Green Lantern, I could use the power ring to just make the right size furniture on the spot, dammit.
Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (Mondays, BBC America, 8pm)- In this limey mystery show, Jeff Randall is a private detective whose partner, Marty Hopkirk, is killed in the first episode. However, unlike most dead people who retire, Hopkirk returns to help his ex-partner solve mysteries! DO YOU SEE WHAT I'M SAYING? Not a single dead person has EVER volunteered to write my column! Or mop my kitchen floor! And who has more time on their hands than the dead? So listen up, corpses! Quit ignoring me and get back to work-because if you have time to LEAN, you have time to CLEAN!
It's definitely a fun watch - a nice counterpart to the usual grim-and-gritty mysteries that BBC America has been airing recently. Very silly, especially the bits with (no, really, get this) Tom Baker as bizarre psychic mentor Wyvern. And Marty's flashtastic white pimp coat. I can only hope for such stylin' if/when I die.
I have volumes 1, 2, and 3 of Japanese horror comic Uzumaki. I'm all set with them and I'd like to make them go away now. Anyone want to trade other comics for them? If so please contact me.
Update - they've been claimed. Thank god. I'm a big wussy with an overactive imagination and I want them far away from me.
in other news
Let's take a look at some of the searches that bring people here.
Anyone else feel a bit bugged by the visible panty lines on the cover of the new comic Manhunter? Can't say I've ever seen tighty-whitey lines on any of the mainstream super menfolk. But maybe that's worse. Now that's got me thinking of things like The Flash wearing some kind of special streamlined super-thong.
Through a long backstory, I've come into possession of a stack of old issues of Justice League of America. I'm usually not a JLA reader, but I like to give things a chance (and also give myself the knowledge creds to praise or slag 'em), so I figured I'd read them before jettisoning them on eBay or some other outlet. And I figured I'd read them over breakfast. I need something to read over my toast now that I've finished Learn German in Ten Minutes a Day.
Justice League of America, issue 52 (March 1967)
This issue's title is "Missing in Action -- 5 Justice Leaguers!" This makes it sound cooler than what it actually is: a bunch of quickie stories to illustrate why the entire JLA roster isn't present at every single meeting. Each of the highlighted members is shown embroiled in some sitch that prevents him from returning to headquarters when the JLA emergency call is sent out - namely, fighting some baddies.
My take on this? Irritated! Seriously, it's the freaking Justice League. If the JLA Emergency fire alarm is going off, the problem is probably HUGE. I'd much rather Hawkman and Green Lantern stop mid-fight and (for example) go help prevent Cumbre Vieja from wiping out the Eastern Seaboard than have them ignore their pagers and continue stopping manuscript theft and fighting giant dogs (and not just because Cumbre's resulting tsunami is probably going to take out my house).
I also noticed a trend. In all of the mini-stories, JLA members used this strategy against the baddies:
"My first move is to pulverise their toe-cubes!"
Best WTF moment:
The Atom can't make it to the emergency meeting because he's in 1783 saving the life of Ben Franklin.
Public service announcement "Countdown on Excellence" taught me the value of a job well done.
Cooper Black used in GI Joe "Capture Hill 79" ad.
Ladies! How can you resist the utter sexiness that is Martian Manhunter?
Please wipe down the Emergency Signal when you're done with it.
I finally got around to reading the first trade of the Warren Ellis-written sci-fi craziness maxiseries Global Frequency. As usual I'm about ten hundred years behind the curve.
I love the concept behind it. A massive worldwide network of over 1000 operatives, any of whom could be tapped in without notice to come and deal with insane sci-fi catastrophes. It's like those Puma commercials with the Jamaicans, where Joe Average is having a beer until TAP! Now he's running the relay. So much personal projection potential. That could be me! That is, if I actually had useful skills beyond making granny squares and quoting Law and Order.
And I love the ideas. Warren Ellis reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft. Both offer stories with such mad ideas on cosmic scales of pure ballsy incredibility. The first time I heard about the "an infectious meme gets downloaded through SETI@home" plot, my jaw just about hit the floor. AHH SO COOL! Warren Ellis is the king of pop sci-fi, world-threatening concepts that could easily show up in next month's Discovery magazine. The differing ideas and varying tones of writing are also served by rotating artists, who help to keep the presentation fresh and new.
Overall, however, the execution feels a little too disposable for my taste. An issue opens, the Ellis Device is explored and defused, the issue ends, let us never speak of it again. It's a constant stream of "Monster of the Week" episodes with a new cast every time. I don't have any emotional investment in these people, and I never see any aftereffects. What happens after the Evil@Home meme is destroyed? Will anyone start investigating to make sure that no other Norwegian towns are located on top of crazymines, or training Guardian Angel-style leagues of Le Parkour runners to keep cities safe since the one in issue 6 was successful?
I had similar issues with Ellis' run on The Authority. There was all this talk about more realistic superheros and how actual cities were being destroyed, but after the Ellis Device of that story arc was addressed, we never really saw much of the rebuilding, so the stories never had much resonance with me. Where's the aftermath? Do these people ever get proactive about things rather than just waiting for the next big explody? Maybe in Global Frequency, this is addressed in the next volume and all of this trade is meant to lay the ground. Even so, I don't tend to have the patience for manga-style extended episodic plotting like that.
An additional negative aspect to having a new Ellis Device every issue is the need to explain it, which results in a lot of chatter among people who are meant to be in tight situations. It was great to hear the ideas explained, but so much talking took away from the sense of danger. For example, I would have been more tense if Sita Patel the Le Parkour runner hadn't been constantly accompanied by expository chatter about the bomb she needed to reach.
In short? Definitely an outstanding read, especially if you are a science fiction or cyberpunk fan. My personal tastes lean toward longer stories with more character development and I felt it while I was reading this, but quick pop teases with madcap ideas are also tasty every now and then.
in other news
Thanks to Magical DJ Sileni's colossal skillz, my bike's repaired. Hooray! I spent some nice biking time this weekend zipping around and visiting places like Mount Auburn Cemetary.
Biking in one of the worst biking cities, though, reminded me that I hate everyone and everything. Oh yeah. People who toss lit cigarettes out of car windows. Pedestrians who cross against the light. Bikers who don't wear helmets. Double-parking in the bike lane. Complimentary groin-mashings courtesy of all the potholes on Mass. Ave (read: Ass Ave). Gigantic SUVs. Spotty bike lane markings. Arrrgh, roiling with hatred! I'm gonna take it out on some hapless bystander and get popped in the jaw, I just know it.
Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Brunching in our sweet backyard
la da do dah dayyyy
Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Gave me kick-ass birthday card
la da do dah dayyyy
Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Kitty makes a lousy bard
la da do dah day. Hey!
In other news
Do you like a cappella? Are you in the Boston/Cambridge area? Local singers Integration By Parts are hosting Vocal Band Aid, a benefit concert to support music education in schools. An all-star collection of bands is on hand, and it's for a good cause. Come on by the Somerville Theater (55 Davis Square, Somerville) at 7:00 on Saturday, September 18 for a fun time!
Green Arrow: Straight Shooter
This was a fun find at the library. I've never read any Green Arrow before, so this was a nice little introduction to Oliver Queen and the way he works (even if it involves wearing a bright green outfit to be an urban vigilante). The art was clean and the dialogue was snappy, but I wasn't fond of the predictable instances of Disposable Secondary Character syndrome. Two great characters are introduced and then casually offed in this trade, and for what? A story about trolls! What a waste of potential.
Class has started again. I'm taking just the one class this semester, but it's The Big One. According to the instructor, no social life this term. To anyone I know in person: catch you all in December.
So now I'm working on the first assignment, and I have to go on a stock photography hunt. Could someone do me a favor and start "naked.istockphoto.com" or something so I don't have to sort through three million nude photos every time I search on iStockPhoto? Or clue me on how I can filter out all of the "My girlfriend wearing nothing but thigh-highs JPEG" images. Cripes.
things that have earned Kitty's "What the hell is this?" recently
* A River Runs Through It, and by "it" I mean "this table"
* The fight over Himalayan caterpillar viagra (link courtesy of MemeMachineGo)
* The episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (revival version) where the mad environmentalist attempts to limit human population expansion by putting a chemical in the beer that will make men gay. No, really.
* The Hello Kitty Boardfest
* And finally, the library-borrowed copy of the "theatrical release" of The Wicker Man. About an hour and a half of a policeman wandering around the island of Boobies and Christopher Lee, all with the color palette of that Leonard Nimoy "Bilbo Baggins" video. And a pretty freaky final five minutes. What I actually found more freaky was the idea that Christopher Lee's character Lord Summerisle knows the whole time that the pagan religion of the island is fairly bunk, having been introduced by his grandfather to get everyone's enthusiasm about the crops up again, and he still helps to plot and participate in the awful ritual at the climax of the movie. To me, this level of manipulation is much more creepy than what actually happens.
In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I figure it'd be fun to holler out that the Fall show by the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players will be The Pirates of Penzance. Hooray! Also, yar.
Argh! Taking a document nicely laid out in Illustrator and trying to create a new document in Microsoft Word with similar contents is The Suck. I feel like I'm trying to paint wearing boxing gloves. Or wearing Inspector Gadget's boxing gloves - I know that there are all sorts of cool tricks I can do, but I don't know how to do them, so instead I just jam my hand around a lot.
Here's why I'm going no-mail on my local Freecycle list - posts for September so far:
Offers: 61 messages
Wanted/Needed pleas: 53 messages
Screw this noise. I wanted to get on a list for "crap we don't need anymore", not Santa's freaking wishlist. Examples of "wanted" items that people have requested: Hockey equipment, a car/truck in working condition, various computers, skis, and an above-ground pool. Are you kidding me?
Courtesy of Thought Balloons, the news that The Dandy's Desperate Dan is getting an update. Man, I'm really curious about this. Are there any Brit readers out there who could hook me up with a copy when that issue comes out? I read The Beano and The Dandy religiously as a kid. I still remember the issue when the "Queen of Texas" invited Dan to tea.
JLA #53, May 1967: "Secret Behind the Stolen Super-Weapons"
Breakfast: Cup of tea with lemon, half a grapefruit
The cover shows several members of the Justice League being attacked by their own weapons - Batman getting beaned by a batarang, and so on. This doesn't reflect the story at all, so let's hear it for the first instance of cover art bait-and-switch I've encountered. I'm keeping score.
The actual story involves a machine that can swap items with other items at long distance; "being attacked by their weapons" is actually "finding out that their weapons have been swapped with dummy versions." Detective work and impromptu fighting with non-standard weapons ensue.
That summary makes the issue sound much cooler than it actually is. It's actually a big freaking mess. It reads as though it were written Exquisite Corpse-style, with one guy writing a bit, and then another guy writing the next part without looking at the first part, and then an uninterested guy slapping on an ending. The first part of the plot shows JLA members finding out that their toys have been replaced with useless replicas. Not bad. Then the plot train gets derailed; when they confront the master thief in his lair, he - here it comes - animates stolen folklore statues to fight them while he gets away.
Ignoring for the moment the totally inexplicable animation zappy device - holy crap, I have rarely seen a more blatant citation dropping sequence (and I was an LOEG fan). It's like Foucault's Pendulum for a nickel. The guy might have well have just written "I swear to God I read the following books, no really." Folklore creatures fought include the Doodang from Uncle Remus stories, the Monster of Leeds a/k/a the Jersey Devil, the Ring-Tailed Roarer from Davy Crockett's tales, and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I know this because each one got a large footnote citation panel, right in the middle of the fight. This on top of allusions to Yehud coins and Minoan bull-leaping elsewhere in the issue. Cripes, just because you get a copy of a Time-Life book on monsters and mythology, you don't have to jam it down my throat.
Once the folkloric ass-booting finishes, the third part kicks in, and you can tell that this guy just doesn't care anymore. Some nonsense about the tool-based heroes starting to disappear because they absorbed radiation from the replicas, and then we find out that these other random guys swiped the switchy device from the original baddie, only they've modified it to freeze people, and just when you think the new baddies are about to triumph, Hawkgirl gets a cool extended action sequence and busts a mace in their ass.
What junk. A lot of potentially neat ideas, but they were slung together like goulash. I liked Hawkgirl, though. She socked a few jaws. Plus she's pretty cute. The fact that "Hawkman" is married to "Hawkgirl" is a bit creepy, though. Pedophile.
Best Quote: "This is like wedging a cork in a bottle! The Doodang will fit in here so tightly -- it won't be able to wiggle out!"
So I was hanging out at Uno's waiting for the rest of trivia team My Third Nipple to show up, watching muted 60 Minutes on the four TVs posted around the bar. They started showing shots of Florence, Italy ("Hey, I used to be there") and then Medici shields from around the city ("Hey, the chapels, I was there once too"). Then various portraits, and then mysterious unearthed bones ("Wow! What the hell is this?"). And then - Bob Brier!
Apparently, 60 Minutes aired a segment on exhuming Medici corpses, including a brief interview with archaeologist Bob Brier. Dammit! Why no closed captioning in the Uno's bar? Why? I've gotta see if I can find a clip or transcript.
Bob Brier is a renowned archaeologist and Egyptologist. He hosted The Great Egyptians on TLC, back when it was about learning and not home makeovers. He's also the author of The Murder of Tutankhamen, which covers some interesting theories. When that one fella donated his body to science and ended up being material for a mummification reenactment? Bob was there. Man, back in college, Magical College Roommate B and I were the biggest Bob Brier fangirls. It was all about the blue shirt and khaki pants.
Here, while I'm out looking into this Medici exhuming project, check out some Bob Brier links:
in other news
If it's the first Saturday of the month, stop on by PA's Lounge in Somerville's Union Square to catch DJs Sileni and Colbourne spinning "old-school electro, mutant disco, post-punk, italodisco" and more. Dance party boyeeee.
Where are you going to be in March? If you're with me, you're gonna be attending one of North Cambridge Family Opera's performances of Space Opera. From the description:
SPACE OPERA, written in 1998 by Cambridge Massachusetts composer David Bass, is based on a familiar science fiction tale of heroes and villains, robots and aliens, unlikely adventures and supernatural nonsense.
So without naming any names, what they're getting at is an opera where my coworker's daughter is trying out for either the part of Jabba the Hut or R2D2. This is going to be great! Take a look at the audition guidelines for some sample MP3's. Especially Chewbacca's "Prisoner's Lament." You have to hear it to believe it.
Low Quality Management
According to Amazon.com, customers who viewed the listing for Lean Six Sigma: A Tools Guide also viewed How to Attract Asian Women and The Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks. That was a strange find.
The Working Fangirl
Where I work, the participants in our online courses are sorted into study groups, and the instructors often refer to them by those initials. So it's a bit of a double-take when I get someone writing in with problems and claiming to be on "SG 1". Focus less on getting Quicktime running and more on kicking Goa'uld ass, fella! ... wow, I'm a huge nerd.
Good news! Courtesy of drinkerthinker, we've got the 411 on Bob Brier's upcoming TV appearance. You can catch Mummy Detective: Crypt of the Medici on TLC on October 17 (this coming Sunday) at 9pm. Here's a writeup on the presentation. You can find the TLC schedule information here, but I don't recommend it because navigating the TLC/Discovery website sucks.
In other news, did anyone else read The Butterfly Ball as a kid? I recently flipped through my old copy and it was pretty damned crazy. It's a book of children's verse about various animals and insects on their way to attend the Butterfly Ball, and it has some of the most astounding color plates I've ever seen. You can get an idea of the illustrations here. They remind me of the intricate illustrations from Kit Williams' Masquerade, only with a strange subtle glow.
Buzzwords around our office: Hantavirus, GERD, rashes, Tony Little, sidecars, Perfect Strangers, blood flukes.
Not so many updates these days. Work and night school are eating my head.
Bob Brier's Mummy Detective: Crypt of the Medici special aired on TLC last Sunday. Pretty impressive stuff, and a happy flashback to when I did Study Abroad in Florence (here's Kitty every five minutes: "I went there!"). Dr. Bob's still sporting the same blue shirt/khakis/sneakers ensemble as in The Great Egyptians. I learned a bit about analyzing skeletons and about the Medici (Cosimo's establishing a public library was news to me), though I would have liked to have seen more about the overall project. Maybe there's a book coming out of it at some point.
Here is a write-up about the show from Archaeology magazine, if you're interested.
In other news, here's what you've demanded
The searches that bring people to this blog ask, and Kitty provides!
naked snape award
Read about the Naked Snape Award and how to get one for your own crazy self here.
randall and hopkirk slash recs
You want a site like this archive, although I can't offer any recs. Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) not so slashtastic in my eyes, and a lot of the fanfic suffers the usual setbacks you get when one of the main characters is insubstantial: the stories end up full of unrequited moping or they're flashback material ("Back in high school, before Project Quantum Leap ever started, a young Sam and Al ...").
fanfic slash hellboy
Damn! That's a new one. But you can find some over at The Wonderful World of MakeBelieve Archive.
puchi puchi wanko
He's over on the Sanrio website. I don't want to know why his favorite saying is "a small thing is a good thing."
60 stewardess uniforms
Your best bet is to check out the freaking enormous Stewardess Uniform Collection. I'm speechless.
bridget jones diary thong pics
You're on your own for this one.
The "I wish I'd thought of that" department
And then there's Hellblazer: Hogwarts, a Hellblazer/Harry Potter crossover in which John Constantine becomes the new Defense of the Dark Arts instructor at Hogwarts. Damn, I wish I'd thought of that!
So, quien es mas macho? John Glover as the Devil on Brimstone or John Glover as Lionel Luther on Smallville? There really needs to be some kind of evil-off between these two characters, and I'd be right there with popcorn and foam fingers.
Now that's just nasty.
For your viewing displeasure, here are some choice visuals:
Pore strip, meet microscope
Ear Nose and Throat USA present photos of oral diseases
Hmm, I'm feeling fannish
I'm back on the Harry Potter fanwagon these days. Maybe it was the allure of a fandom with a whole truckload of amusing LJ icons.
Austin Chronicle write-up of the underground hit Wizard People, Dear Reader. Essentially, it's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with the audio turned off and a total smartass providing his own narrative. Funny as hell, especially the crazy quotable one-liners ("I am the destroyer of worlds!") and the completely random tangents (the conquistador dream sequence). Unfortunately, the sound files don't appear to be downloadable from that main site anymore. Sadness! They're available for purchase on CD, though. And what's all this about the show being performed live in Austin? That's worth a field trip.
Seriously fannish discussion is summarized over at The Daily Snitch.
Meanwhile, in the blogosphere ...
The verdict of Eat More People: Metrokitty is the last to escape the almighty ire! ::dances ireless on the table:: Also, while you're over there, take a look at the horror movie rundown Rick and friends have been doing this month. My movies-to-watch list would be growing immensely if I weren't such a wuss about horror movies.
Websnark offers a good reminder that the Internet is a big public soapbox, so keep that in mind when you're tempted to yowl about your boss, friends, or government representatives. Bonus use of blinky text, also.
Are you a fan of minicomics and other small press comics? If you are, then swing on by Small Press Swap Meet, a new online clearinghouse for minis, small press, and comic swag. I've got a few of my own minis up there for sale, if you're looking for something fun to read.
The guy who played Chainsaw in Summer School has his own website.
X-Entertainment has a funny review of The Worst Witch.
Delicious Library has been launched. It reminds me of the collaborative library database project that my friends and I were planning: "Project Giles". The big difference is that these guys actually wrote the code. Our project is still in the "sketched on legal paper, and then we went bowling" stage.
what what? number one: One of the admins where I work came into our office to ask a question. Of all the ones I anticipated, I never expected, "Does that house across the street look like the one in Charmed?"
what what? number two: Why is it that my own website comes up second in the search results for "Hall and Oates slash fanfic?" I don't have any. Hell, why am I even running a search on this in the first place? I must be really desperate for distraction from homework.
On the left-hand sideblog, I've started posting fan-related links in their own section called the Fandom Bucket. That MP3 link is courtesy of Aquaman fan Laura - great find! Check out the other songs on Ookla the Mok's website. I respect any band that writes a song with the lyrics "Okay, you can call them graphic novels, but they’re still just plain old comic books to me, and I don’t see why you must always ceaselessly discuss the post-Zero hour continuity."
Finally, this picture just makes my day:
Okay, a quick trip to Google confirmed the fact that I'm not the only person who caught that History Channel commercial about Alexander the Great that ends with the tagline "He wasn't called Alexander the Dumbass." Hooray, I'm not crazy! I haven't seen it since (I think it's been yanked) and I wasn't sure if I'd hallucinated it.
House just aired. It looks like a compelling, quirky drama airing on Fox, so I give it about eight episodes, tops.
Gregory House is Spider Jerusalem if he'd gone through med school. He's aggravatingly outspoken and honest, he conspicuously pops pills all the time, he's obligated to work in a place he hates, and he lets everyone know how much he hates it. And yet everyone crows about how he's the best, including people who despise him, and he's gathered his own gang of filthy assistant Houses-in-training. I'm half-expecting to see a scene in a dark bar where House beats a guy down and yells that he's searching for the Truth the Diagnosis.
Let's see how this series turns out. It just aired and already it seems on the knife's edge. Tip the good way and you get quality crazy like madman Alan Shore and Boston Legal; tip the bad way and you get the Adventures of Dr. Mary Sue (okay, Marty Stu), the sympathetic curmudgeon whose greatest flaw is Telling the Truth. At least the American accent Hugh Laurie puts on isn't as grating as I thought it would be.
** Spoilers **
And oh, S.F.F.! Any show that premieres with the plotline of a tapeworm in the brain and then shows you tapeworm-cam gets thumbs up in my book! And what I didn't know until just now (thank you IMDB) was that Bryan "I rock the X-Men so hard" Singer directed this episode, but only this episode. For future ones, maybe we won't end up seeing infectioncam. (*kitty is sad)
I'm currently reading Type: A Secret History of Letters by Simon Loxley, and it is fascinating. I've studied typography in school, but we rarely went into details like the personalities of the designers and typesetters whose names we had to memorize. The political, business, and cultural aspects of type and printing make for great reading; details like "around the time of the English civil war, printing in England was limited so that people wouldn't stir up trouble with provocative political leaflets" might be clear if you read between the lines of textbooks, but I'm as thick as ten planks and like having it spelled out for me.
What I'd love to see is a comic that explores some of this history, kind of like a Two-Fisted Science for typography. This Loxley book has stories that are crying out to be put in comics. See William Caslon's right hook - ouch! Exhume John Baskerville's oozing corpse! Cry as the great ATF is auctioned off for peanuts!
Seriously, though, these would be great tales to bring into the light of pop culture. Printing and typesetting are such a transparent art forms; no matter how great your work, it's almost always going to be subservient to the content (unless you're busting loose with some crazy expressive type). Much like how people at the office don't usually notice my web development work until something breaks, readers don't often notice typography until it's done poorly. It probably didn't help that until the digital revolution, its inner workings were a bit of a secretive and invisible domain. You had to be properly apprenticed and trained, and you weren't likely to have a Linotype in your basement to learn on your own.
Even if it's not very visible or glamorous, like I mentioned above, there are all kinds of crazy stories and personalities to discover. And with digital typography more popular than ever, it could never hurt to bring people's attention to the human aspect of it. Fonts don't magically spring out of nowhere. Helvetica wasn't made up by your computer.
On a related note, courtesy of Digital Web, I found the website Thinking With Type - highly recommended for an introduction to some of the basics of typography, not to mention some fun games. All your fake quote are belong to us!
One quote on the Advice Page hit on one of my pet peeves: "Amateur typographers make their type too big. Experienced designers, however, make their type too tiny. - Paula Scher" It drives me up a wall to constantly hear "Make the type smaller" in critiques. Yes, it will give the piece a look of sophistication, but it's worth jack all if people have to hold it to their noses just to read it. I don't enjoy the feeling of "designing for designers." One of the things I like best about design is imparting information clearly to a number of people, and shock horror, that might include people who can't read a 6 point font.
completely unrelated question
I noticed in the shops that the third Harry Potter film is out on DVD, but there are separate editions for "widescreen" and "fullscreen." I rarely buy DVDs - is this split typical? Is there any reason why they couldn't put both options on one DVD? Are they just gouging or are there serious tech issues at work here?
Only four more days for you to bid on your very own Doctor Octopus costume with working pinchers and complimentary Spider-Man corpse! The price is only up to just over $20 right now. C'mon people!
Or if you've got Tha Skillz, you could try following his detailed instructions and make your own. Sadly, I have no such skillz. Me making a Doc Ock costume would probably just be something like taping a few draught excluders to my jacket.
Just over a day left on the Doc Ock costume auction (this link courtesy of Magical Knitter Drinkerthinker) and the current high bid is $50. I wish there were some way to follow up with the winner. I'd love to find out what the hell someone does with this thing afterwards, beyond entering every cosplay competition possible. Unless it's something nasty, in which case no, I'm not listening, la la la la.
Meanwhile, Ian Brill has a panel from the best issue of What If? ever. Must read this!
Does anyone else besides me think that the cover for Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers looks like one of the Hogwarts house crests?
The Doc Ock costume sold for $50. What a steal for the winner, I swear. I bet the components alone cost more than that.
It's the final two weeks of class, and I'm in schoolwork hell. Lots of work to do with just A History of Britain DVD Box Set to keep me company, playing over and over again in the background. Once this is all over I'll be able to tell you any damn thing about British history, but I'll only be able to recite it to Simon Schama's cadence.
And a recent funny courtesy of the Daily Snitch: another round of the meme that never dies! Potter Potter Potter
Heard another bizarre History Channel ad yesterday: a French Revolution documentary promo that ended with the tagline "For two hours, it won't kill you to love the French." WTF! This on top of the fact that I heard it while watching a special about Ben Franklin and how he was a genius inventor, a rebel, and a huge player. Such weirdness. They must be trying to reach out to an edgier crowd. "We're not just for baby boomers who like shows about Civil War firearms, we swear!"
Stop messing with my head
Speaking of craziness, here's a weird experience: Reading fanfiction and discovering that the author has given one of the original characters the same name as one of your friends. Cripes, that was odd. Now every time I see that guy in person, I'm going to picture him running away from Romanian werewolves. Must never mention this out loud.
Hallmark needs cards for this
Happy bloggiversary to Progressive Ruin!
I'm grateful for Wacom tablets, Epson paper, Barry's Irish tea, loud cheesy MP3's, and living alone in my own apartment so there's no hassle in wandering around at three in the morning in my underwear wielding a sharp X-acto blade and yelling at the TV ("Watch out behind you, it's a Balrog!" "You bred raptors? You insane mofos!" "Aw, Charles, don't do that, Oliver Cromwell's gonna boot your ass!").
In totally unrelated news, here are some botany terms that made me snicker because I'm ten years old.
*kitty has entered the chat room.
*kitty is low on sleep and high on adrenaline and Mentos.
*kitty has been cutting board, spraying adhesive, and praying to the gods of Epson for almost the past two weeks straight.
*kitty passed Final Portfolio. Kitty passed Final Portfolio!
*kitty plans to catch up on three years' worth of sleep. Night school was more of a commitment than she'd anticipated.
*kitty is now going to England for ten days and will catch all you sucka MCs on the flipside.
*kitty has left the chat room.
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