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Random Missives of an Idiot — LiveJournal
dancemonkey
It's surprising how a good hair day can really make a difference. Especially when you have a curly mop like mine.

Sorry to The Soup Gang (TSG). Very-late-in-arriving in-laws, two-year-olds, and other hyphenated phenomena prevented us from participating at all.

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dancemonkey
This evening I found out that indeed you can add too many chocolate chips to chocolate chip cookies.

Hi everyone!
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dancemonkey
I always feel awkward going to McDonald's and ordering a large number two with a coke. But I still do it.

The other day as I was driving to work I drove past a school crossing and saw the crossing guard stretching. How bad must that intersection be if the guard stretches between lights?! I hope he gets haz-pay.

C and I watched Children of Men Saturday night. Holy damn! I was absolutely blown away at the quality of the film. I can't recommend it highly enough. Yeah, it's sci-fi in that it takes place in the future and some pretty wild stuff has taken place in the world, but it is more an alternative universe story. Very cool.

We've also seen The Prestige, The Illusionist and V for Vendetta over the past week. The Prestige and The Illusionist were pretty sweet until the last ten minutes where they just completely crumbled in front of our eyes (The Illusionist was the greatest offender of the two in that regard) and V was just okay. I didn't find much terribly exciting about it and the liberties it took with the original story (insofar as I recall the original story) made it just meh for me. C liked it, though, and I had to ask whether I was being fair to the film as it is a different media than paper. But I think that's what made Children so good. It didn't dumb itself down for the audience and I really appreciate that. Needless to say that due to our movie watching C and I are living on less sleep than usual, since we have to wait for Renée to fall asleep before we watch them, but it's been worth it.

So if you can take anything from this post it is this: Get yourself a couple of cheeseburgers, fries and a coke from your local golden arches, stretch a little and watch Children of Men.

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muzak: The Hold Steady

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dancemonkey
And what I was meaning to get to when I got online to write on LJ was to mention that I saw David Mamet last night for the first time on Real Time with Bill Maher. The guy blew me away. He was so articulate, funny, thoughtful and intelligent. If he were clean I suspect that Joe Biden would confuse him with Barack Obama. But back to the point, I totally want to read Mamet's new book, Bambi vs. Godzilla.

And now I look up from the laptop and I see that C has given Renée a huge chunk of chocolate and Renée is not giving it back and appears to be happier than she has ever been in her entire life. C was only meaning for her to have a taste and Renée has decided that a taste isn't enough.

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dancemonkey
Soup was great! I'm still bummed about not seeing a particular person from MA. And the MN visit was filled with boardgaming. Sorry for everyone I missed because I got called into work. And we still have a coat of one person in particular from CO. I think my wife emailed you. You should get back to her.

Renée is basically running at 100% capacity, and she definitely loved your stairs and seeing all the people, Walt.

Since my last entry I've read Alan Moore's Lost Girls (yes, it's the erotica graphic novel -- that does seem redundant, doesn't it?), which I liked but was slightly disappointed with; Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which I loved loved loved; Neil Gaiman's Sandman Vol. 5 A Game of You, which was also quite good; and Not Buying It by Judith Levine, which I was meh about. Right now I'm reading the Library of America's (a rather nicely bound book) H.P. Lovecraft's Tales, I'm really enjoying it. I'm also reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down to the Bones, which I'm enjoying aside from her mocking comments about fat people, public schools and her non-stop zen references. That said, she offers some good insight and suggestions and I've confirmed how much I love short chapters.

Other than that, nothing much going on that I feel the need to write about. Work is work, I have a real need to play more games and I don't think I have enough time to read. Renée continues to be a complete and total joy in my life. It shocks me how substantially I look forward to being around her and how much I love coming home to her squealing and running toward me. Waking up to her kissing me on weekend mornings is also wicked bad ass.

Ah. Time for lunch.

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dancemonkey
At the risk of sounding really insensitive to the people of Boston, but people in positions to make high level decisions need to get a fucking grip and get their heads out of their asses!

I'm sorry, but how the fuck does this image:



suggest a bomb threat? Does no one under the age of fucking sixty work for city hall or the police department?

Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino is quoted in the article linked above (a CNN article, I know, and its parent company is Turner the company that also owns Adult Swim) saying, "'I just think this is outrageous, what they've done ... It's all about corporate greed.'" And his little stunt isn't about his political greed?

Also quoted from the article, "Rep. Ed Markey, a Boston-area congressman, said, 'Whoever thought this up needs to find another job.'" I hope the illustrious Congressman Markey is talking about the fucking moron that thought that the Mooninite was a terrorist attack.

But I'm sure I don't know all the details and I'll be put in my place before too long. Either that or I'll be put in fucking Gitmo for suggesting that the government get just a goddamn taste of popular culture.

I say we bomb the fuck out of Iran over this. Christ we went after Iraq for about the same thing.

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dancemonkey
So a couple of things:

First is this scan of page 171 of Understanding Comics, which I promised a while ago. I'll put it behind the cut.
Read more...Collapse )

So the reason I like this so much is that it is a perfect example of words and images working beautifully hand in hand. There is a lot of build up to the penultimate panel on this page (in the chapter) and when it finally comes you just aren't disappointed by the results at all.

hannibalvail lent me volume four of Ex Machina. It really is good. As I was going through the artwork again (as I am one of the few (apparently) who often misses the artwork in lieu of the story and not vice versa) I noticed something that struck me even more the second time than it did the first.

"Then how come I hear old elevators singing at night?" Cut due to possible spoilersCollapse ) This is a good goddamn story.

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dancemonkey
So I just completed Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art. My initial impressions after completing the book are the same as when I started it. Wow. And anyone who believes that Scott McCloud's books make Eisner's obsolete has clearly not read it. As a collection these are really especially good.

I also know that I will need to go back and read this again (as well as McCloud's). Soon, actually. It's one of these works that require multiple readings to appreciate all the goodness that is found in it. The interesting thing about the book is that I feel it could be applied anywhere; not just in comics.

The one main complaint that I have is Eisner's clear bias that the best way to write a comic or a graphic novel is with the writer and the artist being the same person. I wish I could say that I'm convinced by that. This gets into some oddly philosophical complications in my mind. The first being that I have read far too many works that have been done by a team to suggest that this is the best way to make a comic. Alan Moore is a perfect example of this. Same with Neil Gaiman. None of these guys were the artists for their graphic novels and comics, but they have created spectacular stories. (As I was mentioning to hannibalvail, Alan Moore's The Watchmen, specifically his comic within the comic, has been popping up during my daydreams lately. And more specifically than that, the idea that Moore put that comic within the comic has been bothering me lately.) So what would have been a good idea? Would it have been a good idea if both Moore (who is one of the finest comic writer's ever) or Gaiman just decided that they wouldn't write for comics because they didn't have the skills as an artist? Of course not! So for Eisner to put such a heavy emphasis on this point in the latter part of the book definitely leaves me wanting for a greater explanation of it. Obviously if the writer/artist has talent on both the writing and the art side then that would be exceptional, but I just can't imagine that having a team is that great of a detriment to good work.

Even with (and possibly due to) this point of contention, this is a great read and something anyone with an interest in visual arts should pick up.

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dancemonkey
Very nice:

pi

Insane:

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dancemonkey
One thing I need to mention, though, is that page 171 of Understanding Comics, panels 3-9, gives one of the finest examples of why comics is an extraordinary storytelling method.

From a previous post.

And I realize after the fact that this is so much insider baseball that it is sad and would be meaningless to anyone who doesn't have the book sitting in front of them. So I brought the book with me to work where I hope to scan that page and give an explanation as to why I think it is so exceptional.

I really need to find a scanner for home.

And then there is this, also from the same post:

Over the last six to eight weeks I have been reading in the mornings before work and in the evenings before bed (instead of dicking around on the computer at both times) and I have been getting through a great deal more reading. It's awful nice.

Of course the moment that I start taking that reading time for granted the little girl decides she wants to party until midnight. And then she decides that she'll sleep so restlessly that none of us can get any ourselves. Doesn't she realize that some of us have to work?!? Sheesh. Talk about inconsiderate.

I'm so tired.

But all is good because I got this in my email this morning:

http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF005AD-No_Survivors.jpg#76

Disclosure: It is a comic with fairly safe for work content; however there are many other links to other comics that are less than work safe. Hilarious, though.

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dancemonkey
So I officially very much like Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, but I love Making Comics by the same author. One thing I need to mention, though, is that page 171 of Understanding Comics, panels 3-9, gives one of the finest examples of why comics is an extraordinary storytelling method.

And speaking of sequential art, after plowing through Brian K. Vaughan's Ex Machina Vol. 3 Fact V. Fiction, art by Tony Harris and Tom Feister, (thanks again, hannibalvail, for lending it out to me) I have started to read Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential Art. I just got through the foreword and the first chapter this morning and I was loathed to head off to work because I was enjoying it so much. It feels a lot more academic than McCloud's work. This makes sense since it is a compilation of essays he wrote that were a spin off from the course he was teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

It's interesting what a few extra hours make. For the last year or so, I have had such a hard time finding time to read. Over the last six to eight weeks I have been reading in the mornings before work and in the evenings before bed (instead of dicking around on the computer at both times) and I have been getting through a great deal more reading. It's awful nice.

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dancemonkey
Poaching Salmon in the Dishwasher.

found via Lifehacker

Seriously. This would be funny to see someone pull off at a high end dinner.

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dancemonkey


Found this site [indexed] from Lifeclever ;-). It's a good waste of five minutes.

EDIT: Added a link to the site I was referencing because I'm a dumb ass.

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dancemonkey
Eggo waffles with butter and maple syrup.

Breakfast of Champions.

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dancemonkey
I love Apple’s latest television ads in which Justin Long is the cool and casual personification of the Mac. His look can easily be summarized...

How to dress like a Mac - LifeClever ;-)
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dancemonkey
I found this through del.icio.us and I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Creating your own blog is about as easy as creating your own urine, and you're about as likely to find someone else interested in it. One popular technique for building readership is to send e-mail to more well-trafficked blogs offering to exchange links with them. One popular response from those blogs is to laugh derisively and hit the Delete button.

and

MAKE blog: How to create a nuclear accelerator using a Flash drive, a Commodore 64 and a guy named Roger.

The Ultimate Blog Post

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dancemonkey
Google will eat itself
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dancemonkey
Yesterday was terribly exciting. Well, maybe not terribly exciting, but exciting. Well, maybe not exciting but it was yesterday.

Anyway, I finished the final piece to the master bedroom puzzle yesterday. I changed out the ceiling fan. Before was this pretty ugly gold, open bulb fan that was just not right for the room. In its place I have installed a rather understated matte finished silver fan with dark reddish brown wood blades. It really works for the room. I think the key to putting in a good ceiling fan is that it isn't noticed when you walk into the room. This fits the bill.

The installation process was a little more than the other lighting I've done, but nothing over the top. The primary challenge was getting through the overly verbose instructions that came with the fan. Sometimes the instructions are just poor translations and then others are filled with labels that make the fan sound like it is a device from an operating room. These instructions were the latter. It is a nice change and C is pleased as punch.

But as I said, this is the final touch to the room. I need to do a little bit of work on the floors still, the t-bar that I was going to use to cover a gap isn't wide enough so that means I'll need to re-cut a piece and to install that piece I'll need to take out three or four boards. Nothing outrageous, but just a little more work. Then the room will be finished.

More excitement, though. I found hannibalvail's Top 10 Book 2!!! I was a) extremely happy that I hadn't lost it, and b) very pleased that I could read it! Of course I plowed through it in a matter of hours, and I was very impressed. I've mentioned it before, but I didn't like the first book initially. But after getting into the story I really started to appreciate what Moore was doing and then began to find it exceptional in quality. The second book is not disappointing either. Beautiful artwork, a great story and the dude even makes an alternative universe (several, in fact) in a book that is based in an alternative universe. Really intelligent storytelling. I understand now why Alan Moore is considered one of the greats. I hope Book 2 isn't the end of the series.

I also started Gene Wolfe's Shadow & Claw a couple of days ago. Again I found myself unsure about the book. Personally I am not a fan of first person narratives when reading a novel, but I soon moved past that and started to get into the story. The first few chapters probably have stuff that I missed as I skimmed some of the more detailed environment stuff, but I suspect that I'll be able to catch it when it comes up again. I'm only a few chapters in, but I can definitely see potential in this story. I also like the novel concept of a torturers guild. The rather creepy detail about how they gave a woman drugs so that she wouldn't pass out while they flayed her leg from the knee down definite peaked my gruesome side.

Finally, I have started to play more over-the-board chess lately. I have been trying to get my ass out of the house to play at a local chess club at a Barnes and Noble about six miles away from me on Thursday evenings. I have mixed feelings about this club, and I intend on checking out another club that's on the other side of town on Wednesdays (those who know Albuquerque it is at the Frontier). But last night redeemed the club in my eyes. I have yet to win a single game, even to those who I should have easily beaten. But last night I played a exceptionally pleasant older man (he claimed that he was turning 80 in the next month or so). I know who he is by his reputation. He's the tournament manager for many of the Albuquerque chess tournaments and he rather highly rated. I played him twice last night and it was a great deal of fun. I lost to him both times, and I couldn't be more pleased. Had I not screwed up a move or two in the end game I could have possibly drawn him, which is really wonderful to know. And it got me thinking about why I am consistently losing to other people who I know I can beat. First off, I think it is just getting familiar with playing over the board. I'm used to playing on a two dimensional board which makes to see chess in a very different way. Secondly, I think that when I'm playing people who aren't that great (and I know this line of thinking sounds arrogant, but they aren't bad players, they just aren't the level I'm used to playing) that my own game suffers accordingly. That when I play good players, I play good chess. I could be full of it, but this is what makes sense for the moment.

But I should go make some chess moves against murva and doctorellisdee before the kiddo wakes up. She's actually taking a mid-day nap for once, but I don't know how long it'll be.

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dancemonkey
...I get to the end of a cereal box and all I get is crumbs. I find this completely useless as a breakfast. Crumbs and milk. In fact, I would doubt that this would even constitute the definition of crumbs. It's more like dust and milk.

Someone needs to do something about this. Yesterday my Golden Grahams were nothing but dust and now today my Life cereal was nothing but dust. Unacceptable! I'm also not fond of how quickly Life cereal gets mushy in milk. Quaker needs to put some research into making its Life cereal stay crunchier longer. And I don't want to hear from any of you Fascists out there saying that they like their cereal soft. Keep those comments to yourself. Unless you want to throw down. That's right. I'm calling you mushy cereal lovers out!

I wonder what would happen if I inhaled the cereal dust. I have a feeling it is like inhaling asbestos. I should see a doctor about this. Or perhaps I can ask my congresswoman to introduce legislation to assist in the care of those who are victims of cereal dust inhalation.

Okay, I'm off to write a letter and maybe start a new non-profit. It's time that this madness ends!
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dancemonkey
It's funny. I truly think Neil Gaiman is one of the most fun people to read on the planet. I haven't been doing much on the internet these past few months except a little bit of email, chess and looking at Board Game Geek (a great site for anyone looking to find out more on "designer games").

When I've had the time I've been reading. Quite a bit as it turns out. But I have specifically gone out of my way to read Neil's Sandman series. Now don't think too highly of me. I've only gotten through the first three volumes. I'm waiting on another Borders coupon to come into my inbox to see whether I can pick up some more. 25-30% off the cover price definitely makes it work for me. As a side note, I've also read V for Vendetta. Exceptional, and I want to read The Watchmennow more than ever. But still, Sandman is top notch and I am only reading it superficially. I know there is more in these stories than I'm getting out of it right now. Oh, and I'm almost finished with Bobby Fischer Goes to War, which is exceedingly dry, but also quite interesting. I'm in the appendix (yeah, it is that kind of book) now, and I can honestly say that its page turning nature has gone to the ether. Regardless, I will finish it. I have made a promise to myself to do everything I can to finish the books that I have gotten three quarters of the way through.

But the reason I mention Neil is that I get up this morning and I pick up the MirrorMask script that C found in some box that she unpacked a few days ago and I continue from where I left off the night before. It's really a beautiful book. Dave McKean's illustrations are stunning and this is partly due to knowing that he did an illustration for every shot in the film. Every one. That, my friends, is a lot of work. But because of the illustrations the script reads almost like a graphic novel. I'm also reading the script (something I had planned to do before seeing the film) to help me see the stuff I missed when I did finally see the film. When we started to watch it Renée was asleep. She woke up and then it was an attempt to keep her happy while attempting to watch a film filled with beauty. Thankfully I own the film so I can see it whenever I want, but still, to read the script, and I love reading scripts, adds a new dimension to the film viewing experience.

But again, this isn't the reason I mention Neil. This is only to add pretext. Pretext to a rather silly thing, but pretext nonetheless.

So this morning when C and the baby fell back to sleep, I got out of bed and grabbed the laptop from C's bedside table and went online. I made a few chess moves (sorry I haven't gotten to yours yet, doctorellisdee) and then decided I should at least catch up on a little Gaiman. I jump to his blog and go to the month that I thought I stopped at: October. As it turns out, after a little refreshing of the dusty memory, I realize that I had read most of it. But reading Neil makes me want to write. A lot. He just has an elegant flow that works for anyone. Reading Neil makes me want to be a better writer.

So I decided it was time to write something on LJ. I didn't know what. I just thought I should write something. This, apparently, is what I'm writing.

More later.

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muzak: Oddly Quiet

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