Monthly Archives: May 2003

When Comics Are King

Chatting with Alex about comics lately reminded me of this web comic from a few years back, which I hadn't looked at in a long time. When I Am King uses graphical storytelling in some of the best (and absurd) ways I've ever seen, especially on the web. It's well worth a look if you haven't seen it, and a repeat-viewing if you have. The storyline (if you can call it that) ended a while ago, but there is a promise on the site for, “new stuff and other important changes coming in august 2003.” Whee!

What a…

Jackass star jailed in Sweden. Not surprising really. But it's not every day you get a quote like this in a news article:

bq. He is now sitting in a cell on a special toilet with an alien object in his stomach. We are waiting for it to come out so we can analyse the contents.

I'm guessing it's just a Matchbox car.

Pondering Academia

Just returned from a long weekend back east, where I got to see my sister's graduation. If intelligence and accomplishment can be measured by the number of Greek and Latin letters and phrases surrounding someone's name in a graduation program, well, my sister is pretty damn smart. I'm incredibly proud of her and amazed by how hard she's worked.

Visiting a small liberal arts college for a weekend was also quite interesting (especially after being away from academia for a year and a half now). Something that struck me was just how much self-congratulation, back patting and rah-rah-ing goes on at these institutions, especially during graduation. I definitely had the same impression at my school(s), but never quite with the same clarity. It's wonderful that we have these places steeped in tradition, that consistently yield smart, successful individuals, but could they possibly be more isolated self-serving surreal islands of… of… island-ness? Apparently I didn't learn enough at my institution of liberal learning, and my vocabulary is lacking. Anyway, enough with this little ramble. It was a great weekend, there were just a few characteristics of the academic world that got me thinking.

The Birdcage Reloaded

Larry Wachowski a transexual? I also read he occasionally likes to be called Lara, and the woman he is now seeing is a dominatrix. Guess that explains Trinity's character.

Wow, what a silly celebrity gossip column type story to post. I couldn't resist.

Apple Music ad

Caught my first Apple Music ad on TV today, and of course it was the guy singing “Baby Got Back”. Apple had has the new ads online, but it looks like they're down now. I'm hoping they start running the little kid singing Eminem's “Lose Yourself”. It's pretty intense.

I have yet to buy a song from the new music service (everything I've wanted that I've searched for, hasn't shown up), but I'm loving my new iPod. Maybe I could audition for an Apple Music ad singing some Sigur Ros, “Yoooouuuu saaat alooooone… Youur soouuul….. Yoooouuuu siiiiggghhh…… Yoouur soooouuuul….” Oh right, they don't have any of that either.

Perdido Street finished

Finally finished Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, and I think I know why it took me so long to get through the last half of it. I just wasn't all that interested in it anymore. To me, the last half of the book wasn't nearly as engrossing as the first half. All of the details, storylines and characters that I was really enjoying in the first half, were all put aside and forgotten about until the last ten pages where they suddenly show up again. The bulk of the story in between, read like an action movie with gratuitous descriptions of details and gore used for filler. And plenty of filler there was. I did enjoy the construction of the world and the development of the characters, but when the real plot kicked in (after 400 pages) it didn't leave me with the same sense of wonder. I guess in short, the first half of the book left me expecting one thing, and the second half delivered something very different. But I'd still go and recommend the book to anyone who's looking for a story set in an incredible world that is a creative (and often disturbing) blend of fantasy and science fiction.

Enough with the vague-so-as-not-to-give-away-any-details-to-people-who-might-want-to-read-it book report…

Now, on to Super Flat Times.

Matrix Reloaded thoughts

There are opinions galore out there, so I'll keep my own petty ramblings as short as possible (a few spoilers ahead).

It was fun. I won't deny the fact that I enjoyed the ride (most of the time). Disliked: Zion and the dragging scenes of pseudo-philosophical dialogue. Liked: Kung-fu and the campy humor (some intentional, some not).

Were “bullet-time” or special effects used in new, mind-bogglingly creative ways? No. Same ideas, but with a bigger budget, more computers and explosions.

If the Matrix can be summed up as the “brain in a vat” story, The Matrix Reloaded is the “cog in a machine” story. Oooo, what a twist.

My prediction (a bit of a long-shot) for the third film is a Ghost in the Shell-type resolution with Neo and Agent Smith merging consciousnesses (dying in the process), to form a new, neutral consciousness which allows machines and humans to see the error of their ways and get over this whole 'enslavement' hang-up. Ah, but preceded by 2 hours of more flying, kung-fu, guns, robots, bigger guns and bigger robots.

What I'm hoping for is those two action-packed hours and then: Neo dies. Fade to black. Fade in on computer screen. Text: 'Wake up Neo…' Fade to black. Roll credits.

I like my ____

Prompted by a number of jokes with friends in the past couple weeks, I thought I'd start a collection of these. It all started one morning when somebody made a coffee run at work. “How do you like your coffee?” “I like my coffee like I like my women…” Everybody's made this joke before, and the silly variations thereof.

* …cold and bitter
* …sweet and creamy
* …thick and Belgian
* …tall iced mocha to go

Let's try one together now. Add your own conclusion in the comments. I'll post a new opener from time to time.
(Girls, feel free to change it to men. Be as crude, silly and/or sexist as you like. It's all in good fun.)
*I like my beer like I like my women…*

* …pale, and always on tap
* …dark and stout

Recent movie round-up

OK, finally finished up this entry I've been assembling the past couple days… Watched quite a bit over this past weekend, catching up on a couple films I'd been meaning to see for way too long (and one I've seen a half-dozen times already). A quick rundown of Rivers and Tides, The Matrix, Cube 2, Catch Me If You Can and A Beautiful Mind. Here goes…
Continue reading

Worlds colliding left and right

I can't resist posting this as well (via Cup of Chicha)… Brown creative writing professor Matthew Derby, whom I had the pleasure of taking a hypertext fiction class from, has a new collection of stories out, Super Flat Times. Probably one of the best professors I had in my college career, and by far the most entertaining. A few of these quotes are his. And in this interview (also via Cup of Chicha) I discovered he had something in the first issue of The Believer, which I had skimmed a while back (but overlooked Derby's name).

So this afternoon, I set out to pick up a copy of his book and the first issue of The Believer. As if these small-world collisions weren't enough, I got to the magazine store (happened to be staffed by a coworker from The Stranger) only to find that the second issue of The Believer was also out, and it featured the writing of one of The Portland Mercury's (The Stranger's sister paper, where I am also technically an employee) news writers. Not to mention the half-dozen articles in both issues of The Believer that reference and cross-reference a dozen other odds and ends in my life lately. Kinda creepy, but thoroughly exciting when things connect like that. Definitely makes me want to write more here (hopefully more interestesting content) and elsewhere. Maybe even dig out some of my old half-finished hypertext projects. Here I go again with the random inspiration on top of a billion other half-baked ideas, and its past my bedtime already. Oh well, here's hoping it keeps Patrick Swayze out of my dreams tonight.

Where’s my Survivor: Antarctica?

After last night's close of another season of Survivor, we were given a sneak peak for the location of the next Survivor, as they always do, in a desperate effort not to lose the few viewers CBS has (primarily from Survivor in the first place). The Pearl Islands, off the coast of Panama? C'mon, I'm tired of islands and jungles and hot weather. Send them to Antarctica! Or the Arctic circle! Or Alaska, even! I want to see the contestants bundled up, huddled next to each other, trying to prevent frostbite during the night. Maybe a few encounters with polar bears, or grizzly bears in Alaska. That would be spectacular. Instead, we get an island off the coast of Panama. They tried to liven it up by describing the chaotic history in the region, with pirates, and treasure, more pirates… and um… later on I think there was a canal or something. Are sunken pirate ships really a serious threat to Survivor contestants? Last I knew, sunken ships just sat there at the bottom of the ocean and turned into swanky high-rise apartments for all varieties of sea creatures. I want to see the contestants melting snow for fresh water, chipping holes in the ice to go fishing, hunting seals and penguins, and in turn being hunted by giant bears. Maybe even dealing with the 24 hours of daylight during the Alaskan summers and the insanity that follows. That'd be a real survival story. Of course it'll never happen, because CBS would have to sacrifice the girls in bikinis and the possibility of ratings-boosting nudity that they were blessed with in this last season.

Carnivorous contest?

Snippet from a cell phone conversation I overheard today:

“This isn't going to be a carnivorous contest… No, don't you know that elephants can live on grass…”

I am so confused. Any theories on what this could possibly have been about? Is somebody pitting two elephants against each other in an eating contest? A vegetarian-only eating contest, as opposed to a carnivorous contest? When is it going to be on Fox?

Bring it on Swayze

The nights of intense, vivid dreams come in waves. This week brought some crazy anxiety dreams, a few inspiring ones, and a couple just plain bizarre. The strangest of which went something like this:

I was wandering through a forest and came to a clearing, where there was a small cabin. It was a modern, almost mobile-home type cabin. Like one of those homes you see on the back of a flatbed truck on the highway. It was painted red. I walked up to the door, opened it and stepped inside. As soon as I was inside, something in my mind clicked and I realized I was part of an action movie that was taking place. The main characters were played by John Cusack (the good guy) and Patrick Swayze (the bad guy). The cabin was suddenly lifted a few feet off the ground by a giant crane and started swinging back and forth. There were gunshots outside and I looked out the window and was able to make out John Cusack's character shooting at Patrick Swayze, who had leapt off the ground and grabbed hold of a window pane on the side of the cabin. I then realized two things… I had a gun in my hand, and the cabin was now on fire. I dodged the flames, took cover behind a door frame and started shooting out the window that Patrick Swayze was at. John Cusack ran around to same side of the cabin to get a better shot. My aim was impeccable, but I continued to miss Swayze with my shots. I walked closer and closer to the window and was soon just a foot or two away from him, with my gun pointed right at his chest, but my bullets still would not hit him. He grinned an evil grin, and I saw he had fangs for teeth. The fire in the cabin flared up for a brief moment. I reloaded my gun, caught a glimpse of John Cusack doing the same outside, and then I woke up.

Site/Nonsite

If you can name the artist that the title Site/Nonsite refers to, I'll give you… um… an e-mail pat on the back. (hint: go ahead and Google, if you need to)

As a routine at the end of one month and the beginning of the next, I'm going to post some of the amusing search strings that brought people to my site. Last month, I had this list. “Drawing elephants“, “talking to oneself“, and, “fire alarm collections” are still some of the more common ones. But here are a few of the gems that fell a bit lower on the list:

* “dilbert cubicle move chess”
* “crazy.playboy”
* “equilibrium drink”
* “love my alcoholic rage”
* “2003 e-mail address of almighty”

In other site news, I had thought about removing all of the e-mail addresses from people's comments that they leave here (all three of them), in order to prevent spambots from having a field day with my friends e-mail accounts, but it turns out that Movabletype already has a some spambot protection in place for the e-mail addresses in comments. Yay! But I did go and turn on anonymous commenting, so no e-mail or web address is required anymore for posting. Yee haw. Go nuts.