Friday, April 29, 2005

People, please.

Of course I wasn't the Gerber Baby. Google, anyone?

One can only imagine what the next few days will entail...

Growl!



Just wanted to be one of the uncountable posts announcing I've just finished installing Tiger for OS X. I'm gonna test it out at home for a while before I convert my work machine over, as it's never a good idea to change operating systems in the middle of a project.

Dashboard is cool.

Spotlight is cool.

It's strange to find pride in upgrading your OS, I guess it's a Mac thing...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Don't Panic

No matter what you may think of the impending theatrical release of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I am here to inform you that even after 25 years, the book is still good.

I picked up my well worn copy and decided to give it another go to have a fresh comparison for the movie. It's still funny, it still makes me laugh, and reminds me of my younger years when literature was good and pure, and my cynical disdain for the offerings of the creative world did not burden me like so much dirt on the shoulders of Atlas.

New Comics Day

Pretty light this week... I didn't even get to snag that Day of Vengeance book everyone is yapping about.

Wonder Woman
Star Wars Empire
New Avengers
The Authority: Revolution
Solo: Howard Chaykin
City of Tomorrow
Red Sonja

Two Chaykin treats this week. Solo has yet to disappoint, but it will be hard to top last issue's showcase of Paul Pope (every book this year is going to have a hard time topping that one!). Chaykin's last bit on Challengers of the Unknown didn't really do it for me, but I'll give City of Tomorrow and issue or two and hope it catches my interest.

Wonder Woman arcs are a coin toss, but Rags Morales starts on art this issue and that's kind of hard to pass up. I've been a Rags fan since his debut on Hourman, which I just remembered was quite some years ago now. Hourman was a freakin' great book, I was talking about good sci-fi last week, and especially back then there was no other book like Hourman on the shelf. If you like your mind warped by grand time-travel conundrums in meticulously fashioned detail, series writer Tom Peyer delivers. And all expertly rendered by Morales every step of the way, dig that puppy up if you can!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Striking While the Iron is Hot

I've retained the interest of my nemesis for at least another week, as Laymamerican Idol marches on. Oddly, or not so, more than a few of the survivors had posts featuring reference of a decidedly adult nature... The clincher was The Wretched Girl's mentioning of her casual encounter with Belladonna, and the surprising revalation that Layman did not know who she was! Baron knew, not so surprising. I knew (even less so). Belladonna is a fairly well known adult actress by adult actress standards, which is unusual in her case because she is definitely not from the glamour arena of the adult industry. She was even the feature of a lengthy segment on Primetime Live not long ago, where Diane Sawyer catered to the much-sought young hipster audience by sitting down and attempting to deconstruct Miss Bella. Gosh it's keen when mainstream media covers porn. It's like watching grandma fiddle with her iPod... dear lord that did not come out right.

Belladonna may have her circle of note, but of course she's no Jenna Jameson. Hell, Jenna is a "commenteer" for VH1, and she even gets hosting gigs for the Spike TV Video Game Awards. Anytime a network show needs to reference porn, Jenna is the de-facto callout, she's done pretty well for herself like that. So then if the Jenna Jameson E! True Hollywood Story is the "how to be a porn superstar," the Savannah E! True Hollywood Story is the "how NOT to be a porn superstar." A intriguing, but tragic tale… I was aware of her fateful Cobain-like demise, but I shocked to learn she was only 23 at the time. Of course she was fucking Greg Allman when she was 16, so I guess she was living a compacted life. In the end her downfall was drugs. Hard on heroine and coke, wouldn’t you know. If it was her shitty self image and low self-esteem that lead her to suicide, drugs certainly paved the road.

Drugs are an expensive habit. Much more so than, say, comic books. When one is on a daily binge, I just can't fathom how much money goes up your nose/in your arm. And at her peak, early nineties I guess, Savannah was only getting 4K a film from Vivid. She was also not that prolific a performer… I wonder where the rest of the dough came from. She was a headline dancer, that pays well, but still. The main thing newbie porn stars have against them is that they just don’t think ahead. All that money… by the time they are 25… just living the lifestyle. I think if you choose a career in porn (and believe me, now more than ever girls are choosing a career in porn, although much different from succeeding) they should have to attend business school.

That will never happen. The producers want them as young and stupid as possible. In candid conversations amongst friends, it's been surmised that women have the potential to completely rule and govern the entire adult industry, it's just that no one is going to lift a finger to help that come to be. You know, unlike any other profession, if you choose a career in porn, that's pretty much it. It's not like there is a Friday's or a Wal-Mart handing out jobs to former sex industry queens (or kings). Or is there??? The sheer VOLUME of women doing porn certainly can't stay in porn… they have to eventually get a real job, right? When you think of all the starlets who have come and gone, what the hell are they doing now?

Another recent TV news magazine report mentioned college students are pretty oblivious to porn nowadays, there is little or no taboo. Quite the opposite. It seems that it's "cool" to have porn running on the TV at a dorm party or what have you. Huh? When did porn become cool? How is porn cool? I mean, yeah, porn is nifty. But "cool?" It can't be any harder to get than a pack of cigarettes these days, internet or no. It's not like the host would had to have gone to any great length to obtain any number of adult movies. Me, I don't know… I dig porn as much as the next guy, but If I was at a party and there was porn playing on the TV, I'd be pretty shocked. I don't think that would make the host cool, I think that would make him an idiot. Now if the TV was playing Touch of Evil or The Care Bears Movie, that would be cool. But I'm 32. I'm an old man. Tho if the host was a lovely lady? THAT would be cool, because we love our double standards!

The porn lifestyle is often likened to the rock and roll lifestyle, and it's generally true. In that respect, when your favorite indy band hits it big they quickly lose their charm. I saw The Donnas play once in San Francisco eight fucking years ago. But remember a only a couple years ago when MTV started flouting them about on TRL? It was like Christ returned in the form of 4 girls you'd think were really hot if you were drunk.* So now if porn becomes mainstream and "cool" it will decidedly morph into anything but. What I predict will happen is that the holy grail of porndom, the true "crossover artist" will finally come to pass. Contrary to popular belief, Traci Lords was not that artist. And I don’t think Jenna Jameson is that artist either. Paris Hilton... close call but no. Some other skin-chickie is waiting in the wings and is going to have a hit Top-40 single. Or some obscure filmmaker will have a girlie in a bit role that does well at Sundance that snowballs her into a media darling. Or some ballsy TV exec is going to cast a charismatic barely-legal hottie in a sitcom. It'll happen just like that, and suddenly being a porn queen will be the hot thing in hollywood, for real this time. And only new starlets will be called for… no one will want to drag out the has beens from an industry where the average peak notability is a year or less. And no mainstream audience will be familiar with "classic" stars. "Classic" of course referring to anything before 2002. Finally, in a completely new mutation, hordes of girls, young and young-ish will spread wide in hopes of catching that producer's eye one night in a dark room with a coke-stained hundred dollar bill and a stack of DVD's set precariously on the coffee table. Or, may god help us all, established stars will make the move into adult film.

It used to be that a girl went into porn with hopes of becoming a famous actress. For whatever reasons, she just stayed in porn. Then it was that a girl went into porn with hopes of becoming famous-- in porn. There are plenty of examples of that. So if it comes full circle and a career in porn actually does lead to a career in hollywood, it's over. It's all over. Porn will not be dirty, porn will have no mystique. There will be no giddiness when your cable mysteriously descrambles, nor any nervous anticipation towards receiving a plain brown package in the mail. Yearbooks will brandish labels such as "Most likely to be a porn star." Lesley Zen will be a guest on the Tonight Show. Folks can go to the theater to see their favorite leading lady in the latest summer blockbuster, then go home and watch her take it up the ass.

I ain't exactly trying to advocate anything here one way or the other. Porn is not exactly the model industry it makes itself out to be. Not to mention "porn" is different things to different people. But what you can't argue is that there is more porn now than ever before. Odds are that if you don’t already, you may soon know someone relatively close to you who is in porn, has done porn, or will do porn. This is unless you are actually doing porn yourself, at this very moment. I have a feeling the damn has yet to break.


* In reality my affection for The Donnas has little to do with my current state of sobriety or lack thereof.

Monday, April 25, 2005

My Pixel, My Mistress

A little Darwin Cooke, for the hell of it:



I'm sure David Baron can instruct you how to make one of these little slide shows, in fact he will tell you it's easy.

It is easy, especially if you have Image Ready (which is a robust fragment of Photoshop, if I may be so bold as to use the contradictory statement "robust fragment"). What's great to me tho, is that it doesn't have to be easy. With any number of tools at your disposal, it can be fantastically complicated.

My blood sacrifices to the Altar of Adobe happen with frightening regularity, tho Photoshop remains in a constant struggle to achieve my coveted title of "greatest software of all time." The challenger perpetually remains Equilibrium's DeBabelizer, a scriptable image processing monster that is unparalleled in it's ways of pixel manipulation. To go into detail with the uninitiated would be like switching over to another language, but believe me when I say that using features like Change Pixel Depth, Set Palette and Remap Pixels, Shave Outline, and Trim to Solid Edges warms the cockles of my heart. The "Super Palette" concept alone is a feature I dare not describe for fear of not doing it justice. It's not that I just like DeBab, it's that I need Debab. In "the day job" I deal with such an immense volume of files in a schizophrenia of image formats that without DeBab I'd have torn out my unquestionably glorious hair many moons ago, opting to move to Alaska to spend the rest of my days soaked in alcohol in effort to forget caveman antics of converting .bmp's to .png's one save dialog at a time. Truly the soul of Debab is its no-frills scripting engine, able to automate tasks with such finesse that its inclusion was not only brought forth from talented programmers, but indeed may be a boon from the gods. Sure Photoshop has some scripting, it's got a lovely (if temperamental) Actions engine I use regularly, but... it's not DeBabelizer.

Where was I? Easy vs hard? The truth is there is no easy, no hard, only the steps taken to reach an end result as perceived by an onlooker. It's all arbitrary, as within itself Photoshop has ten ways of doing anything, and that's only until someone shows you the eleventh. DeBab only has one way to do things, the right way, and mastery of its controls is a badge worn proudly by those who have dared to learn. I've no doubt the aforementioned Dave could school me in a multitude of Photoshop's finer details, and I'm no slouch. It's part of why I love riding the wave of learning, it's your choice weather or not words like "easy" and "hard" become less descriptive and more of a personal preference. Anyone can take their car to Jiffy Lube, but we all know that dude who just loves to get under his ride and get dirty. Software to me is fascinating in that respect, this ethereal collection of code and user interface no different than the machined parts of a six cylinder engine. We are in a glorious age... it starts with a slideshow on a blog, it ends with a future classroom of 4th graders making short films on par with Pixar.

M I N I B O S S E S

It was at The Smell in downtown LA where I went to see The Minibosses on Saturday night, what a great show! The Minibosses do guitar-heavy rock covers of classic videogame themes. It sounds weird, but man they rock the house. To say the crowd was into it... well they were into it. To compound the eclectic evening of music, I even ran into an old co-worker of mine from New York-- seems he too relocated to sunny southern CA and didn't want to miss seeing The Minibosses in action.

If you're curious to the music, visit the site and check it out. Also tops in the odd game music cover subgenre is Metroid Metal. Great stuff!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Comics Day

I love new comics day. It's a rare constant in my life that I anticipate and enjoy with unwavering enthusiasm.

Jenny Finn
Life During Wartime
JLA
JLA Classified
OMAC
Space Ghost
Klarion the Witch Boy
Livewires

Damn, I spent 50 bucks today, and that was with the hefty discount kindly offered by my new shop. Even tho DJ's Universal comics is a scant half mile from my home, I have switched my weekly buying over to the much more hospitable House of Secrets in Burbank. They genuinely promote comics and art with good customer service, and I will reward them with my patronage.

There is a wonderful, almost unfathomable trend running through the undercurrents of comics these days, good science fiction. Adam Warren is heavily underrated in this area, I think he offers the best of what the genre has to offer in any format. The all-to-glossed-over Dirty Pair books were the pinnacle of his sci-fi exploitation, but his dabblings in more main-stream fare are just as wonderous. DC's Teen Titans: Rock Paper Scissors is a must have for any Warren or sci-fi enthusiast, as was his short-lived run on WildStorm's Gen13. Now at Marvel with Livewires, he is crafting a book of such top-notch allegory that he seems to erase any lines left between scientific extrapolation and fantasized conjecture. At times I wonder if his audience deserves him.

Along with Adam Strange, Space Ghost, Legion, and Doc Frankenstein, sci-fi is on a roll. Legion bottoms out the Diamond 300, literally, so that won't be around long. Busiek's current JLA mega-arc, "Syndicate Rules," is soaked to the bone in sci-fi, and throttles readers back to balls-out Kirby-era books when planet Earth was just too small a setting. What was thought to be a studious callback to Morrison's Earth 2 turned out to be an insanely huge, galactic/multiverse spanning epic with a subplot focusing on the return of the Quard Empire. The Quard, people. Busiek brought back the Quard... and it's awesome! ("in the non-California-slang sense of the word awesome") Yes it is a good time to be a fan of both sci-fi and comics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Lowest Common Denomonator, pt 2

Concerned primarily with a stunning brunette peeling down her g-string, it was with little fanfare when Cherry walked up behind me and ran her fingers across my neck as a hello. She slinked around to the front of my chair and made her way onto my lap, cat-like, not saying a word and joined me in enjoying the current show on stage. The brunette finished her set and made way to pick up the bills that littered her feet with some modicum of grace, a near impossible task. Cherry turned her attention to me and without looking reached for and removed a cigarette from the tin that I had waiting on the table. With a magician's slight of hand she placed the cigarette to my lips and produced a Zippo lighter seemingly from nowhere, cracking it open with its distinctive clink to light me up. I took a drag as Cherry spirited away the mystery lighter, revealing just a glimpse of its Betty Page pin-up imprint. With her other arm already around my shoulder she carefully but naturally took the cigarette for herself. A new girl appeared on stage to dazzle the lookers-on with a Jimmy Hendrix repertoire, Cherry took the opportunity to whisper in my ear that it was time to take the party somewhere else.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Lowest Common Denomonator, pt 1

"Cherry" was on stage, her second time up since I walked into the club and took a seat a few feet back from the spot-lit brass pillar of shangri-la. A pouty-lipped waitress dropped off a cola, took her tip and made way to the other surrounding tables to do the same. Cherry spun around her reflective anchor, beautifully maintaining her fictional interest in the hair-metal ballad of years past that blared through the club's sound system. By the second verse her silk shirt gave way to the awaited view of her requisite fake tits, skin uncommonly smooth and tanned for one in her profession. With legs akimbo and auburn hair trailing in vaguely rehearsed arcs, she set forth to appease gravity and spiral downwards to the stage base, ending her decent with a graceful twist to a prowl towards scattered dollar bills. I edged up from my seat and reached forward to flip down a fin, letting 'ol Abraham relay the message that George won't: come and see me when you're on the floor. The message was acknowledged with a wink and Cherry disappeared back stage with her crumpled shirt and a fist full of cash, ludicrously high heels clocking soft echoes along the way.

Velvet Revolver



Saturday night I found myself at The Pond in Anaheim catching Velvet Revolver in concert.

It was a good show, with a mixed crowd of all ages. From teeny-bop rockerbees to folks -ahem- my age, and older. Were they there to see Scott Weiland? Probably. Were they there to see Slash? Sure. I gotta say, for most of my generation, Slash is pretty much the poster boy for rock and roll-- it was pretty cool to see him rockin' out with the rest of them. VR does not have alot of original material, so sections of the show were peppered with covers of Stone Temple Pilots and Guns-n-Roses, in retrospect that was a nice treat. One of the encores ended with "I Used to Love Her (But I Had to Kill Her)," a song I was certain I'd never have the opportunity to hear live. Guess again.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Flight Vol. 2



The second volume of Flight is simply wonderful. It accomplishes two things that are so vital but so rare in graphic novels:

A presentation of real art. The contributors are artists in every sense of the word, and very, very good ones. The overall level of quality in such a thick collection hits out of the park. There are alot of great comics artists, but the majority will only ever be comics artists. Sadly mainstream books rely on artistic mediocrity in order to meet bloated publishing schedules. Flight, man, wow, even if a couple stories/styles aren't your cup of tea, you can't deny the art.

An overwhelming desire to share. After finishing my own reading, I wanted to go through it again. And with each story I was hit by thoughts of which of my friends would love each of the stories. After reading flight you just want to go and buy 5 more copies to pass around. I give comics to friends all the time, but something like Flight is something you can give to anyone, especially people who don't regularly read comcis.

Flight 2 follows the anthology format of the first equally excellent volume. It does stray from the theme more (the first volume of stories were all centered around the concept of "flight"), but halfway through you really don't care. Get this book, then get another one and give it to someone you know.

Flight Home Page

Flight at Amazon.com

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Feast for the eyes

-- geek mode: on --

I wanted to test out posting a picture on the 'ol blog, so what better example than my bad-ass mofo FELSTEED that carries me across the treacherous terrains of Azeroth?



Anyone poking around Llane server is welcome to ping Vonnagan, Warlock elite of the Cerullean Craw.

-- geek mode: off --

Wisdom of the world shines bright

New odds for the internet's favorite son! Like a mouse being stalked by one of Layman's many precious cats, I've made the cut for week one of Laymamerican Idol.

More finely crafted posts to come as I try to keep pace in the leaderboard, and brace for whatever disaster I've unwittingly written myself into. All in good fun, folks.

A Heated Contest

Lord knows why I'm involved in Laymamerican Idol (Lord's reply, "Oh, for the attention, definitely."). But to complicate things further there have been a handful of new contestants, widening the playing field.

I'm not concerned, for as with anything there are really only two outcomes. The most obvious is that I will take it all the way to the thrilling conclusion, to a dramatic showdown the likes of which has never been seen in all of blogtopia. The most likely is that Layman will eliminate me first because he is evil and likes to fuck with me.

While I'll continue to cast a dark shadow of doubt onto the very legitimacy of any eventual rankings, I'll play along as long as everyone else will. And I'll play to win, dammit. Don't be fooled, fellow blogganites, Laymamerican Idol continues solely on the whims of a madman... but that's what makes it so inviting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

New Comics Day

The stack was unexpectedly large this week, due mostly to the new volume of Flight. Man I wish that didn't have the Image banner on it, but I guess they get to do something right every once in a while. As it happens the last thing Image did right was the first volume of Flight. And I'm pretty sure Image doesn't have much to do with it at all.

Other titles grabbed:

Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur (P. Craig Russell!!)
Ultimates #5
Iron Man #3 (Ellis/Granov)
Majestic #4
Adam Strange #7
Gambit #9 (don't ask)

I am really digging Adam Strange and I'm actually looking forward to the Raan/Thangar War. I just hope to god this whole Infinite Crisis nonsense doesn't crap it all up.

Speaking of Crisis, JASON TODD is back from the DEAD??? Yes, THAT Jason Todd, according to Judd Winnik and the latest issue of Batman. Death has long been no more than an extended vacation in comics, but I didn't see that one coming. The Loeb/Lee "Hush" arc set it all up, then conveiniently buggered out with the whole Clayface angle. The Infinite Crisis connection is the key here. Jason Todd coming back to life by some inexplicable means-- say Riddler getting a DNA sample from the grave and acquiring some sort of genetic Todd construct-- that does not interest me. But in the wake of "Hypertime," introduced way back in Kingdom Come, there exists another story possibility altogether. The Hypertime concept merely allows the Infinite Crisis concept (whatever it turns out to be) which is basically the existence of multiple universes. So, like "Pre-Post-Crisis." So in a universe where Jason Todd survived the fateful explosion (or the call-in votes, depending how you look at it), should he have the opportunity to see a universe where his fate was less than desirable, travel there, and fuck with Batman, well, that's interesting to me at least.

Yes, I am aware how ridiculous that last paragraph sounds. However, if you read comics, it makes perfect sense.

Infinite Crisis as it stands is just an excuse for DC editorial to put things back the "way they were" instead of making any real effort to move forward. If in fact Infinite Crisis is a setup for another universe reboot, why did they go through all that bother just to get Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern? That couldn't have waited another six months? Using Green lantern as a prime example, no matter what huge event the Crisis turns out to be, the "return" of Hal Jordan suggests that Post-Crisis continuity will be lingering around for a while. Ten bucks says they get Barbara Gordon out of a wheelchair and into the Batgirl costume again, too. Sheesh.

OMFG Blogs are so lame

I don't know what I was thinking... starting a blog. This is the biggest waste of my time ever, and I play World of Warcraft.

As far as I can tell, blogging is completely selfish, which is probably what attracted me to it in the first place. If you blog, you blog under the assumption, or perhaps the condition, that untold others than you have an interest in what you are saying at any given time. In my waking life, around people with heartbeats, this is rarely the case. Through writing I've a bit more cache, as a general result of my career and relationships with "friends" who at least feign interest in what I have to say at any given time. For some reason when you take the time to write it down, and do so with some degree of skill, people like it.

That does not excuse the billionfold of blogganites that just gotta post what they had for breakfast. It's often nice to know what you had for breakfast. And my blog allows me to tell you that with the highest degree of sarcasm the english language allows. As far as me reading blogs, well I have some guilty pleasures. I mean, you can only look at so much online porn before you-- oh, wait, I just now noticed that's the completely wrong excuse. So I mean, you can only look at so much online news before the crushing weight of the world warrants blowing your head off. Blogs are like internet sorbet.

This morning for breakfast I had a bowl of Whole Grain Tiger Power. It's got a grainy heft to it most other cereals lack with just enough sweetness to keep me munching.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Attack of the Killer Bees!

I went home to make a sandwich... a lone bee made it's way into my kitchen from an unknown entry. I caught it, sent it out my front door for lack of a better destination. Back in the kitchen, another bee. A peer out the kitchen window... several hundred bees. A trip outside saw them carousing around a vent. They were coming in thru my oven fan, and my upstairs neighbor had things a bit worse off than I. I taped up my fan best I could, nothing sticks to umpteen years of grease accumulation.

A lifetime ago, when I was a wee tyke, my pop and my tykier sister went off to some photo studio, they were chosen to be in some magazine ad. My father was a graphic designer at the time and had all the inside connections, the community was much smaller in those days and often kept things "in the family," he was always dragging us off for stuff like that. Did you know I was the Gerber Baby from 1973-1975? At the studio they were at, some filming was going on outside for a some random movie, they were grabbing extras wherever they could, so pop and sis joined in. A crowd were told to run around screaming and wave their arms around for no apparent reason. In the pre-digital glory that was 1970's cinema, adding a swarm of bees was probably not the hardest thing to do, but it certainly wasn't the easiest. But add a swarm of bees they did, and in some b-movie gem from the distant past where bees played the part of intrusive communism via a lost Vietnam, there's a sampling of DeSantis cinematic immortality.

A Night at Hollywood Billiards


Hollywood Billiards, you may be surprised to learn, is found smack in the middle of Hollywood. A pretty fancy place, and by fancy I mean someone occasionally comes in to vacuum. There's a nice courtyard out front for the Smoking Leper Society, and a full bar inside which counts for alot. They've got a kitchen that offers bar-style appetizers and similar fare, all of which makes the atmosphere rather posh for a "pool hall." There's also a secret upstairs enclave with additional tables for the breaking elite, with it's own separate bar. I asked at the counter If I was able to reserve one of those upstairs tables, but it has been decreed that they only be opened on weekends. Instead of viciously chastising the poor fellow at the counter for not immediately recognizing me and opening upstairs anyway, I took pity on him and accepted a table against the wall.

My opponent for the evening was my buddy Troy, he and I have recently started an ongoing "Endless Tourney" of 8 Ball were we play for score, mathematics determined by my past league experiences in New York. As of our last rally, he was ahead by only one point, altho as the evening progressed the gap widened in his favor considerably. We did warm up with some 9 Ball, where I was able to maintain some dominance, but that was just for hips and jiggers. One day, on my death bed many years from now (or considerably sooner depending who you ask), I'll look down at a roughshod scrap of paper filled with numbers scrawled by various inks and do that last bit of math to determine if my life was in vain.

The laugh of course, as I've said many times before, is that pool is a game of little consequence outside the immediate vicinity of a rack of balls. The real reason Troy and I drove out to Hollywood was to eyeball the girlies that usually frequent the establishment. Sadly when we first arrived sometime around 10pm, the joint was a pirate ship. It took some time but a spattering of the fairer sex began to arrive, and what was lost in quantity was made up for in quality. To the table next to ours came a stunning brunette who was either a top-tier fashion model or an amateur porn star. Tho both Troy and I are able to determine the difference with little effort, the point became moot as she hobnobbed briefly with some acquaintances and then left. Across the way by the bar was a dirty blonde with painted-on jeans and a tight, midriff pink sweater that enhanced an impressive rack and a stomach you could fry an egg on. Dirty blonde wasn't really an accurate assessment of the shade of her hair but more of a superficial personality judgment on my part. Bemusingly accurate, as it would turn out.

As the evening wore on I fell drastically behind on the phantom scoreboard, and the place just wasn't hopping enough to win out over the many potential hours of Gran Tourismo 4 that waited at home. My cue unscrewed easily between the last traded quips with Dirty Blonde, assuring her it would be simply unfair for me to monopolize her attention if I stayed any longer.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Cinema Diatribe: Sin City

Everyone's talking about Sin City. And alot of them are saying how it's the best comic book movie ever because it stays so true to the source material. Well if the goal was to put a comic book on screen, mission accomplished. But who wants a comic book on screen? I don't, I want my comic books to be comic books and my movies to be films.

Never mind the comics that should never be made into films, Sin City is certainly a worthy candidate for a big screen treatment. But when an adaptation is so dependent on the source material, why bother doing it at all? Another recent example of this is Electronic Art's production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy videogames. They went so far as to rotoscope scenes from the film using the game engine to reproduce them verbatim, "to give the player the ultimate LOTR experience." Dude, I already had the ultimate LOTR experience, it was in the theater. What's the point of seeing it replicated on an Xbox just so I can run around as Aragorn and chop up orcses?

I'm a fan and a follower of Rodruigez, if anyone was going to pull off Sin City as a film it was him. Mega appreciation for bowing out of the Director's Guild to let Miller on the project, too. Tho as I see it, here's where Sin City fails:

1. Narration. The pulpish, dark-city citizen exposition that floods the Sin City comics serve it's place-- in the comics. It's part of the medium, integral to accommodating the flash of the stark black and white graphics to aid the pacing of the stories. In the movies it's such a cop out. I hate narration, hate it, hate it. I am not stupid. I can see what's going on and extrapolate the meaning. Even if I'm wrong, my imagination is better than being force fed every little detail that I can already see happening before me. I can't tell you how many times I watch a movie or a TV show and just think how much better it would be, how much more impact it would have if there was no narration. Try it sometime, the next time you hear it. Replay the scenes in your head without the voiceover and see how much better it is. In Sin City, it's not about giving Frank Miller any more credit for how good of a writer he is. If you've read the books, you already know that. If you haven't, it doesn't mean Miller is any less responsible for the genesis of Sin City itself, no matter the format. It also doesn't matter to me that the narration was necessary to fill in the story holes, as a truly good storyteller would be able to work around this. Or better yet, let the audience fill in the gaps themselves. There are plenty of times in the film where narration was swapped for dialogue and vice versa (and the only reason I know this is that's how painfully close to the source material the movie was). Has Blade Runner taught us anything??

2. Structure. The stories told through the books have little overlapping points, it's very cool to see once you start reading them as a whole. I really thought Rodriguez would take advantage of this, but he didn't. He sorta did, but it could have been done so much better. Pulp Fiction and Two Days in the Valley are better examples of this, both were done with a style that really made the whole thing more enjoyable once all the pieces started falling together. I was a little disappointed that the movie failed to pull this off as (for me) it would have pushed it over the edge towards a higher admiration. The stories that were chosen for the movie were definitely the right ones, although Mickey Rourke is such a bad ass I would have been just as happy if "The Long Goodbye" was the only story. Speaking of the titles, and related to the above, how come no title cards? As one segment ended, I would have loved to see a giant title on screen that said "The Big Fat Kill," or "That Yellow Bastard."

3. Acting. It's readily apparent who the veterans are in this pic. Good actors can survive the heavy handed Miller dialogue, others sound like they are staving off a brain annurism. Call me sexist but it's mostly the dumb-as-a-post eye candy roles that fall into that category (Clive Owen included). As much as I love watching Jessica Alba writhe around with a lasso, the second she opens her mouth it kind of breaks the illusion. Poor dear. She's much better suited for roles where the primary goal is to stand there and look pretty, like Idle Hands or Never Been Kissed. I've tried to tell her this at several of our clandestine back alley daliances, but to no avail. I fear she's too overcome with passion to be taking career advice from little 'ol me.

Where Sin City succeeds is in the goergeous black and white visuals, even the bits with color. I wish more filmmakers/studios would commit to a major release in black and white. When it looks like this, it looks amazing. Ultimately my disappointment falls into the very crowded category of "I would have done it different." It's just that Rodriguez is usually an example that I look up to. He made a good movie, and honestly the majority of the audience just doesn't know any better. My regrets come from the desires of what Sin City could have been, from simply cool... to mindblowing.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Distinguished Competition

You are currently reading Litany of Schist, a blog that which due to my bottomless well of narcissism and vanity is clearly the premeire choice of leisurely reading. But what of my competitors in Layman's most recent time-killing folly, Laymamerican Idol?

Neal Pozner, The Wind
He's a fine chap, Neal is, and for natural ability to wrangle the written word, Neal has some chops. In the category of journaling by method of noteable life events and random thoughts, The Wind carries some weight when put against the Laymamerican talent roster. Mr. Pozner, a throwback to my WildStorm days, is one of the short list of contestants that I actually know in person. We only ever see each other nowadays crossing paths at cons, which I'm sure for him is more than enough.

Dave Baron, My Zombies
I knew Dave when he was just a young punk colorist at WildStorm, and by all accounts I believe that is what he remains (sans WS). He used to trounce me at pool, which I dare say may no longer be the case should we ever cross paths over felt in the future. He's a fine artisan, I see his name accompanying work on high profile books almost weekly and admire him for that, though as a Blogger it looks as if he falls squarely into the banal; so entrenched in the comics world as he is there is precious little of his 4-colour world relayed for me to geek out on with any regularity. The secret weapon he refuses to unleash are numberless anecdotes regarding the minutiae of Photoshop gradients, selection tools, and layering techniques, at least to hold favor by the likes of me. Were this a round table of late-night poker there is no doubt Dave would prove a worthy foe. But I don't see any cards...

Darlene Alilain, Burning Kitchen and Ollie Hearts Crickets
Despite my inability to pronounce her last name (even tho she has verbalized it to me repeatedly), Darlene's double-blogging threatens to sweep the competition based on her pixyish charm alone. Her keen eye for the webnutty and expositional dexterity makes her blog an enjoyable visit. It is also difficult to not like geckos. I got to know Darlene in the rose-colored days of my time in San Diego and am only a better man for it. As someone who digs comics, cartoons, They Might Be Giants, and is the only other person I know who actively seeks out obscure covers of even obscurer music, Darlene straddles geekdom and intellect with effortless charm. The now-crushing realization here is that I guess I have been in love with Darlene for years. I only pray she does not take it personal when it is revealed through Laymamerican Idol that I am just as good looking and far more popular.

The Rude One, The Rude Pundit
A political blog at first glance. Sadly (for me) the political commentary expressed by Stephen Grant's column over at CBR is about all I can tolerate. Were I to read any more I would surely be hurled into a spiral of depression for having been forced to learn about how bad things really are. Ignorance is bliss, folks, and I strive for nirvana. I don't know the Rude One, having only been introduced to his blog by Layman's latest farce, but I can see he knows his way around a keyboard and links to that which is most relevant to his punditry. There's nothing more for me to say about it, which is fine considering he could give two fucks less to anything I have to say at all.

Maki Yamane, Trauma Queen
Things are quite pink here. Should I need to know the random goings on of the self-apponted Trauma Queen, I know where to go.

Kim Peterson, Information Overload
What I admire most about Kim is that she chose to keep her last name, despite marrying into a surname of a total lunatic. She is a news reporter of some note, so I guess it makes sense at that level as well. Her blog is all across the board, a common exercise in writing for the sake of writing often seen with professional writers. It will be difficult for Kim to go far in this contest because of her proximity to the instigator, altho if she plays her cards right she may end up taking it to the finish line. The main reason I like Kim is because she knows an earth-bound god when she sees one.

Marcus, The Long and the Short of It
Another Political blog by someone I don't know. Heavy on conservative viewpoints and linkage to accommodate it. I read as much as I could before my head started to hurt, which took about four minutes. This is roughly the exact amount of time I can stand listening to Dennis Prager. Hopefully the political blogs will cancel each other out, allowing the true gems of the blogosphere to shine.

James Nadiger, I Blame the Internet
Nothing against James, but as far as blogging goes it's mostly fluff. Admittedly on days where I simply refuse to get any work done, fluff can sustain me for hours. Layman sites him as a dark horse candidate, time will tell.

Brian Perez, Logic and Nausia
What can be said about Brian that hasn't already been said in volumes over at Layman's Bolla Haven? He doesn't post often but what's there is surprisingly interesting. I very much enjoyed his poem, "Dormant Hung the Scraping Cloud."

Paul Horn, Cool Jerk
I am so fucking tired of receiving Cool Jerk e-mails that I should aim to eliminate Paul from this contest on principle. In actuality I don't have the heart to filter the CJ updates as junk mail on the slim-to-none chance that Paul may one day need to contact me for a legitimate reason, say, to learn the proper way to allocate carbon miners in Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. Also I commonly usurp the phrase "Lay your blinkies on this" to make me sound cool. In person Paul is an intelligent, witty, mildly annoying fellow with a haircut that could put your eye out. He likes comics so he can't be all bad, altho he regularly monopolizes Darlene's time as I rarely see them apart, even in other countries, so in fact my rancor translates into petty jealousy.

Owen Gianni, Sore Thumbs
Hmmmm. A web comic. Also a known Layman collaborator. This is a non-blog in a blog arena (Mr. Horn falls into this category as well, out side of his god damn e-mails, which semi-count as journaling). I don't like this, no sir I don't like this one bit.

In the hearts of America, I've already won.

Well lookie here:

LAYMAMERICAN IDOL™ is here!

An honor just to be nominated, eh? It's sad really, for all the other contestants. It will be difficult for them to keep pace with my voracious verbal versimilitude, even though I don't really know what versimilitude means.

Since I've suddenly been given a new audience, I'll be doing my best to post noteworthy goings-on of my weekly goings-on. If anything comes of this I hope to perpetuate that my actual life is more fascinating than Layman's fictional one.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I am very confused

At the comic shop this week, something struck me. Hal Jordan is Green Lantern, Peter David is writing Hulk, side by side with a new issue of Power Pack and Great Lakes Avengers. What the fuck year is it anyways?

Also of note is the most excellent Shanna the She Devil, Y, MK Spider-Man, and Strangers in Paradise. Shanna is just pure eye candy with a suprisingly good story (albeit highly decompressed, but who's complaining when said decompression is drawn by Frank Cho). SiP amazes me in it's continual consistancy of being so damn good.

Edco Blog?

I really, really, really did not want to start a blog. It careened past counter-cool into passe almost overnight, not unlike the Black Eyed Peas.

Why do one then? Well I must say it was asked, nay, demanded of me to start posting my many musings in an online format by friends and acquaintances who enjoy such things, primarily because I use words like "nay." And as much as I hate to offer up another comics blog, I'm afraid that's what this will devolve into, should I choose to post with any regularity whatsoever. Of course the occasional thoughts on movies will pop in, as well as semi-regular detailings of my adventures in the LA pocket billiards scene (commonly referred to as "pool hustling.") and Pokémon. Lots and lots of Pokémon.

Unlike some other blogs, whose factual data is beyond questionable (to the degree of outright fabrication, highly entertaining nonethless) this dreg of the blogosphere will rely on the often adventurous experiences of some guy who just happens to write things down every once in a while. Whether or not this can sustain the interest of a readership is yet to be seen.