Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Comic I Made This Morning

As presented by my fancy-schmancy Moleskine storyboard book!

Another post-interview hard-copy blog.

Because absolutely no one asked for it!

People who aren't funny.

I think the movie Funny People represents an actual, measurable infinity. Not a theoretical infinity, but an actual infinity. So even now as I am writing about watching Funny People, I am still, in fact, watching Funny People.

This belief is due to the fact that I attempted to watch this film when Tanja was in the hospital. I got about 25 minutes in, then switched to something else. I've re-added it to my iPod a few times since then, but never got more than 6 or 7 minutes further. The sheer awkwardness of every conversation made everything seem to take forever.

The other night I sat down, with it playing behind the window on my computer while I did things like fixed eBay listings and read TVTropes. After an age, I glanced up and saw that I still had a fucking hour and a half left and gave up.

Well, I killed that particular dragon tonight. I watched an hour and a half straight of unattractive, awkward-looking people who couldn't have a conversation without trying to make it into a routine or a cliche or something so it's all just boring (it was like I was watching The Room again!).

I get the idea: comedians make jokes to hide that they have difficulty making real connections with people and most people are jerks. Your movie's still not funny or interesting.

But at 2-and-a-half-hours? Fuck me, is it long.

PS: if I'm reading a book on my Kindle, then I read a bit on my iPhone Kindle App, my Kindle asks me if I want to jump to the page I just finished reading on my iPhone. Isn't technology neat?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Instant Gratification, Thy Name Is Kindle

Despite the literally 20 books-to-read I have at my bedside, I still look at bookstores. And I spotted this book right here "Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel" by Madeline Roux. The back of the book explained that this was a book about a blog written by a graduate student that got trapped in the breakroom of the bookstore she worked in when the midden (zombies) struck the windmill (everything else).The various blog entries have comments from other survivors and it's that format that holds the whole thing together. But I get ahead of myself. I'm still in the bookstore. I look at the price: it's $29.95. That's too much to conscience considering I won't have a job in the week. So I use Google Goggles on my phone to search it, to be told it's not available to have on Kindle in Australia. Bugger. So I get home, have a quick search of torrent sites. No luck. I try Amazon again and suddenly I'm allowed to buy it in Kindle form. Go figure. $9.35. Sold.
Then I sat up until 2am reading it. It's that gripping. Having worked in a big chain bookstore, I could imagine that backroom with such detail that I suspected the author might have spent some time in Borders Bondi.

I can't spoil much, as like I said, the book ain't done. But something's bugging me. It's something I've noticed when other writers with have a character, in-story, decide to record what's happening, be it with a journal, or a blog, or a recording, or something: the writing style doesn't change. It should, really. A character commiting things to paper/computer will write differently from a fiction author painting a scene. The description might be toned down, word use might retreat to bare facts, instead or reporting word-for-word what someone said in quotations, it should be reported like "we discussed it, then moved on", etc. This book doesn't read like a blog:
it reads like a book. Because of this, I actually I find the initially-interesting blog format to be constraining. Would a character REALLY write down a hallucination-like dream in such detail in the middle of a life-or-death struggle? Oh no, our character is in danger and I'm really in the moment! Oh, wait. It's going to be okay, otherwise how would she blog it?

So yeah. Stuff like that keeps pulling me out of the story. But I like it, and will finish it.

also there is a cat named Sugar who keeps jumping up in front of the keyboard and blocking the keys with his tail and no matter how many times you sling a cat against a wall it never really stuns 'em does it

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waiting in the cafe.

This blog entry was composed in the Moleskine™ App. However, this app is a bit flawed, in that it lets you export to email, Twitter, or Facebook, but not to Blog or Notepad. Also, none of the pictures or in-app markings export out, just the text, which is irritating. So it’s a beautiful app, just needs some tweaking. So I screenshotted it. See?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In which I actually become an old man.

So today was full of many gripes from myself and Tanja. For once, though, these gripes were directed outward, causing not sadness, but a sort of happy-anger. Some examples, written in the first person to save the invective:

"Damnit, Oporto! I know it's fast food, but I'm a 29-year-old adult! Can't I order a chicken burger without without it being "feisty"? Or else having 8 words per burger title? Austrian royalty has fewer names than your "Feisty BBQ and Bacon Double Fillet Chicken Burger with Cheese"!"

"Woman getting off the train: it does not count as a knee-length skirt if all the skirt that is below, say, your labia is not opaque!"

"Other woman: if you choose to leave the house wearing a skintight leopard print minidress AND have a belly that sticks out like this _) then it would be a good idea not to scratch your belly in the fashion of a caveman. Sorry, caveperson."
"Look at the way that guy is stooping. His back is curved like an expensive lamp. Either he's slouched his whole life or he's some sort of were-heron."

"No, no, by all means, if I stop to let you pass, please, come to a complete stop in front of me and try to work out which way I'll go by staring down at my shoes, while making little jerks and starts, like an old car full of cheap gas left to idle."

"I've been burnt out from looking at comics today. Well, I only looked at one, but it was enough. What for Warren Ellis DO to make this stuff up? Here's a tip. If the last page is your hero exposed to the vacuum of space as he bleeds out his eyes, vomits out his organs, then has his head implode, lovingly drawn over 6 panels, your book is fucking weird and I don't want it."

"When did it become okay for buskers to bring a dolly full of amplifiers to play Pitt st Mall? It's open air! I want to be able to choose to listen to you, not to have your music combined with whatever tripe the cosmetics counters are blaring to imply it's Milan fashion week to become a great sonic mud so I CAN'T HEAR MYSELF THINK!"

So yes. Today I became an old man. The women were dressed badly and like slatterns, the food was too complicated, the music was too loud, people were too stupid, things were too expensive, and the whole cycle went on and on and on.

I blame this in part on the fact we've been watching Black Books again this week. I was reminded of the Bernard moment post-party:
"It was awful! The music was too loud, the food was cold, the drinks FEW, and the people MANY. It was everything I expected. And LESS."

However, this giddy energy spilled over into, well, giddiness at the bottle shop by our house. We'd grabbed a six-pack and waited what seemed to be ages for someone to come around from the bar and do us the favour of taking our money. I leaned way over to see if someone was coming, and was caught out as someone appeared. A little embarrassed, I babbled after being asked if I needed a bag .
"Yes, I'd like one, please. I've had a few bad experiences where the cardboard of the six-pack gets wet and disintegrates and then, well, tragedy occurs."
"Well, what you need to do is tuck it into your elbow, like holding a football." the woman replied.
"Or like a baby!" piped up Tanja.
"A baby you can open and consume when you get home!" I finished.
We left, in giggles. We further extrapolated on the subject:
T: "Beer is better than a baby too, because, you know, it's useful!"
L: "Well, you don't have to wait 18 years for a beer to be useful."
T: "Oh, come on. 14 should do it."
L: "Fine. Beer is better than a baby because it has a use before the age of 14 as something OTHER than spare parts."
At which point, as they say, the meeting broke up.

We're odd.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chewie & Han

Oh, hello. Didn't see you there.

This is "Chewie & Han" by Chris Wahl. I saw it and immediately bought it due to it combining two beloved duos of characters from my mental development. Seems to be a theme with me.

Speaking of Calvin and Hobbes, I saw a tweet from Brian Lynch (@BrianLynch) that got me thinking:

I replied, of course, with a few witticisms that he dutifully did not reply to, such as "I am Spaceman Spiff's Smirking Revenge" and "'Calvin you look like you've been pounced!' 'You fell down some stairs.' 'I fell down some stairs.'"

I've since come up with more:

"The first rule of G.R.O.S.S. is you do not talk about G.R.O.S.S.. The second rule of G.R.O.S.S. is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT G.R.O.S.S.! Third rules: two guys per treehouse."

"I know this, because Hobbes knows this."

"Yes, these bruises are from being Calvinball. No, I don't want to talk about it."

I then started thinking that I needed images to caption with these comments. So I started looking (I also found this lovely essay comparing Fight Club & Calvin & Hobbes. Check it out).

What started as me changing lines to suit the new setting in a humourous way quickly became me using images from the new setting to extoll the ideas of the original work.

In short, it went from funny and interesting to depressing and self-destructive. Rather like my experience watching/reading Fight Club.

When I saw Fight Club, I was 19. I was initially intrigued by it's punk aesthetic and rebellious nature and the absurdist way the Narrator cut himself off from society. Then the depressing part set in. "Let's burn it all down." the film decried "Everything you ever thought sucks, you're stupid for thinking it, and you'll never be anything!" Or at least that was how my 19-year-old self heard it. Watching it again (and reading the book) at 29, I was happily a bit more detached. I had read more, I had done more, I was in a very different place in my life. I had learned to appreciate things without assimilating their ideas (a tactic I now employ due to my not needing popular culture to tell me who I am and what I think).

So here are the pictures. Watch the progression! Get some popcorn!

And then the change happens.

So yes. Got depressing. I actually stopped myself before it got any further. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I got rejected on the most promising job interview I've had in a while after they strung me along for weeks and got ID and did reference checks and made out like I had the job. Nothing at all. I'm totally not disheartened by the job-seeking process, and not at all horribly worried about my and Tanja's financial state. In no way am I curtailing all happy impulses, saying that I should be serious and buckling down due to the impending badness. Nope. ....and if you believe that, I have a used Death Star to sell you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meeting Cool People and Losing Street Cred

So you know how people can meet famous people and be cool about it and say things like "They were cool, you know, no big thing."?

I am not one of those people. I know this because i just met Ben Templesmith (@Templesmith on Twitter).

I was heading off to my lunch, looking forward to 30 minutes of wandering in circles with my headphones on, when Erin stops me.

"Hey, you know Ben Templesmith is signing stuff at King's Comics today, right?"



"Oh, I assumed you would, you being a huge fan of Wormwood (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse which I got Erin into last month), you'd know."

"I did not. I shall go now."

"Well, hurry. He's only there for another 30 minutes."

She was shortly talking to a Lucas-shaped cloud of dust. I knew it's usually about 18 minutes to get to King's. I took off so fast that I didn't realise my headphones were playing no music until I was halfway to King's.

I sent off a Tweet on the way:
On the way I passed some protesters or picketers or something. I dutifully took a photo of them and made it into a tiny planet, but did not slow down.
Made it to Kings, and saw him there at the table.
I don't go straight up to him, of course. No, instead I imitate the action of the young man attempting to ask out a girl/rob a bank, I made a full pass around the store, then bought the TPB of Fell (as well as the new Fables for Tanja), chatted with the clerk about how I'd "better buy this before he signs it, ha ha." Then I walked over. The person before me was talking, so I took a moment to leaf through the sketches and art he had for sale. I was fixing to buy one until it occurred to me that the "1600" written on the baggie might not be an in-a-hurry-way to write "$16.00" but might in fact be "$1600.00" and I was afraid to ask. I decided I would go with some colour prints that were clearly labelled "$20". Then it was my turn. I proffered my Fell book, and asked for a print. When he asked for my name, I told him it was Lucas. He brightened: "You're the guy from Twitter! You have purpose!" I would have like to have reacted well. However, being me, I freaked the fuck out. The rest of the time was spent chatting with the lovely lady next to him whose name I did not know (girlfriend? Iunno.) as she noticed I was Canadian and she was from Alaska. Ben pointed out that technically Canadians are Americans, as they are from the continent of North America. I jumped in saying he was technically correct, "the best kind of correct!". Then I left, feeling that I had overplayed my hand a little. I only realised when I was halfway back to work that I had not given him the $20 for the print. So Mr. Templesmith. Ben. I apologise for geeking out all over you. And I will mail you a shiny Australian $20 bill for the print. Sorry I couldn't be cool. You're just too awesome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiki Bar (fuzzy version)

I forget what day it is. I've also missed a bunch of days, so I'll stop marking the days from here on in.

The letters on this shirt are fuzzy, like felt.

I'm sick. It's Tanja's fault. She was sick last week and is now over it. Then I started sneezing on Saturday. Then my nose started running last night. Now I'm so congested that when I sneeze, it sounds like a sonic boom in my head (complete with Doppler effect).

A misprint in a work letter made me laugh. The various paragraphs outlining our ramp-down said things like "You will be paid out your entitlements" and "You will remain employed up until XX date." and things of that nature. It got to the bit where it expressed condolences for the situation and began with the phrase "You will share in our disappointment with the client's decision." I read it as "You WILL share in our disappointment with the client's decision."

(or else?)

Will I? Or will I just hear that sentence in my head all day as read by The Rock?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Godfather of Gaming

(technically). Monday, I couldn't be arsed posting, Tuesday, business dress, and now it's Wednesday. This was not going to be a shirt-post, but I couldn't get picture-blogging to work from my phone, so I'm posting from here.

This is one from the TeeFury Grab bag that arrived Monday. I was wearing my business-y clothes for most of today, but when I needed to relax once home, straight into it. It's called The Godfather of Gaming, and it's by Scott Robinson, the same guy who did my Walker This Way shirt.

And now the actual post I was trying to make earlier:

(click if you find my writing too tiny)

testing yet another format.

Just for fun. Recorded at Parramatta station in the rain.

Recorded on iPhone and posted with VR+ Lite.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Democracy: Brought To You By Capitalism!

Day 23, in which I am hungover. Or, at least, I was. Then I had an omelette with chorizo, potato, spanish onion, capsicum and roast tomato & buttered Turkish toast. Now I feel more human.

Got this in my first TeeFury grab bag. I normally would not have picked so overtly political a shirt, considering that as a foreigner in Australia, I'm not allowed to have an opinion.

By the by, I've worked out all but one of the letters: D: Disney E: Dell M: McDonald's O: Target C: Coca Cola R: Toys 'R' Us A: ??????? C: Cineplex Odeon Y: Subway If anyone can work out the A, let me know.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Artoo's Premium Beer

Day 22, in which I tried a 3DS and decided that I loved it and that I didn't just want to buy a DSi XL second-hand from eBay.
That one's a TeeFury.

So I started watching The Last Airbender yesterday. Started is the operative word. I have not finished it. I'm not sure I intend to. It's terrible. The acting is hammy, Zuko's scar make-up looks a) too small and B) fake, the casting is way off (not the racial thing that caused waves when it came out, just that these don;t look like anything but modern kids), and the exposition just grinds out.

I think what bothered me most was the seriousness. Every line was delivered like a sentence of death. Now, while Avatar: The Last Airbender (the series) had big sweeping stories and epic battles and prophecy and such, the kids involved were just kids, and acted as such. More on that later.

So after literally 9 minutes (yes, literally, I just checked the timestamp), I turned it off and put on my Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes.

And was immediately struck by how silly and childish the first episode was.

I thought maybe it was just in comparison, but no. There's Aang sliding on a penguin, there's him with his tongue stuck to his staff, there's Sokka getting sneezes on by a Sky Bison (and reacting as any 16-year-old would). In any case, it's different in the later seasons, but a thread of humour still follows.

It was only when I was making dinner that I realised what it was: we need to see these characters happy in order to understand their pain later. It's the same reason we spend 45 minutes with Hobbits in the Shire before we take off to adventure: we need to know what's at stake. The journey Aang takes to become a fully-realised Avatar involves growing up, putting away childish and selfish inpulses and desires and accepting that in war there is real damage, and there are casualties, on both sides.

I'll forgive a few episodes of silly for that.

But the movie still sucks.


(Not every post needs a t-shirt picture)

Today I had a day off. I sat around, drank coffee, went shopping at Marrickville to buy stuff to make curried Barramundi with coconut rice, watch a Lost Room episode and most of Tremors 4.

Oh, and I built a lightbox from instructions I found here.

It's a small one, more a proof of concept than anything I could use full-on (hence the off-white shirt, and the fact I used an old hard drive box, my yellow flourescent desk lamp and some printer paper), but it works, and I like it.

To test it, I grabbed whatever the hell I had lying around, which turned out to be various little Transformers (movie Jazz and Ransack), a Mr. Burns (with Booboo), and a pencil sharpener in the shape of a tank with a bent cannon due to Ted swinging it about when he would talk to me at work.

So next week after payday I'll look for some alternate lights and get cracking on a bigger lightbox.

So what did YOU do today?

Dinosaurs! Rar!

Day 20 was yet another collared shirt and tie day, so no update but today on Day 21, oh-HO, do you get a shirt.

So the job at that bank where I needed to wear corporate attire? The starting time was pushed back this week. Then on Thursday they had a meeting and said that due to a lack of people to train us (?), the roles were being pushed back to maybe (!) late July. The people who started three weeks ago still have jobs, but those of you we randomly selected to start later? Yeah, no. So I'm in the market. Again.

So, my shirt. It's got dinosaurs. And they're fighting. I got this from a Grab Bag at TeeFury last year, so I didn't actually choose it. But I like. And if you don't, well, I don't see any dinosaurs fightin' on YER fuckin' shirt, now do I?