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    • Spring cleaning.

    • Posted by Ted on 9 Mar 08
    • Tried tidying my mind out a bit; it was getting cluttered to the point of (further) uselessness by worrying and thinking. This had good bits and bad bits, as all spring cleaning tends to.

      I've shelved an idea that I've been going over for months; I'm not sure I can make it workable, at this stage, anyway. I think, frankly, it's beyond my limited abilities as a writer for the moment. That said, it's actually quite a relief, oddly, to realise I'm just not capable of seeing it through right means I can forget about it, and stop torturing myself wondering why it won't respond the way it ought. Weird, really: I've been so paranoid about my writing, and plans, for the last year or so (since I've thrown away virtually everything I've done in that time as a horrendous mistake), so it's really relaxing to just acknowledge I'm not ready to do something, and let it go.

      So, that's being put away for the forseeable future. Maybe I'll come back to it towards the end of the year, maybe not.

      That said, I did manage to pick up another old idea, and dust it off, giving it new possibility. I'd tried writing stories for the character before, but I couldn't quite convince myself that he was in the right setting, or role; hopefully, that's changed. Plus, deciding to do much shorter stories (think about the length of some of the medium-short Tom Strong stories) should make it all a bit punchier.

      I hope I'm doing the right thing.

      Finally, my webcomic project: art's on track for the prologue. I'm a little worried about the momentum of writing chapter 1, but given that I'm not going to be in a position to start art for that till August, I reckon I've got a while to work with.
    • Movie Review - 3:10 to Yuma

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 9 Mar 08

    • Having seen a shitload of great movies lately, let's start a series of reviews with the first of them.

      I have never watched the original "3:10 to Yuma", so I have no frame of reference to say whether this version is superior or not. What I know is that James Mangold, director of the great "Walk the Line", is a fan of the original film and decided to remake it. The result is a movie with a flaw here and there, but overall very good.

      The movie's about Dan Evans and Ben Wade. Evans is a civil-war veteran with a wooden leg, who is now a farmer. Not very admired by his family, he feels completely useless, with no purpose in life. To make things worse, he owes money to a man, who sends over two guys to burn Evans' barn and remind him of that. Ben Wade, on the other hand, is a famous outlaw who doesn't care much for human life, but is strangely polite and pleasant to everyone he's got nothing against. When Wade is arrested, Evans volunteers to be in the group who'll escort him to the 3:10 train to Yuma Prison, not only for the money, but also looking for the renown of being one of the men who sent the famous Ben Wade to prison. During the trajectory, the two men develop a kind of friendly-yet-dangerous relationship.

      The screenplay, written by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, is well-structured and well-paced, with good dialogue and, most important of all, nailing the characters. Wade is fascinating: his polite manners and calm smile are a huge contrast to the man's cruelty when he kills someone. Dan Evans is also interesting, a man with low self-esteem whose wooden leg and family relationship make him feel useless... and his wish to prove his worth makes his against-all-odds decision in the ending of the movie plausible. The supporting characters are way more than just stereotypes, which makes them unpredictable. Being human, they might do something smart only to do something dumb right after it. And Wade knows how to exploit that.

      But the script's main flaw is at the ending, which could have been better written. In the middle of a fucking shoot-out, the characters tell stories to each other in a ridiculous manner. Fortunately, up to that point the movie's already hooked me and the shoot-out is very well-directed by Mangold, so the ending is still great, even with a dumb moment or two.

      James Mangold directs the movie with undeniable passion, choosing some nice camera angles and directing the action scenes with great energy. The cinematography by Phedon Papamichael also made good use of the strong sunlight to create some beautiful midtone shadows. The editing is perfectly accurate, shifting angles elegantly, especially during the action scenes, and keeping the movie in a steady pace. But what Mangold did best was in directing the cast. Not only the actors are very well-chosen but everyone acts brilliantly.

      Russell Crowe is the star here. Playing Wade with a ever-present ambiguity, he also doesn't waste one single joke ("Even bad guys love their mamas") and it's impossible not to like him, even with him being a murderous outlaw and all. Christian Bale's character is not as interesting as Crowe's, but Bale's performance is just as good. Ben Foster as Wade's psychopath right-hand man is appropriately spooky and dangerous, being the real villain of the movie (but never resorting to histrionism or yeah-I'm-fucking-evil looks). There's not one single bad performance in the entire cast.

      The ending might be flawed, as already mentioned, but the exaggerated dialogue can't overcome the beauty of it. "3:10 to Yuma" is an entertaining and clever study-of-characters western, with the final showdown that is trademark of the genre.
    • Japanese TV

    • Posted by roque on 9 Mar 08
    • Japanese TV makes me HUNGRY. every other show is a cooking show and it's always amazing stuff like lobster, sashimi, deep-fried fish... this one takes the cake, though.

      Kobe Corned Beef.

      I miss corned beef sandwiches SO MUCH. mustard and good ol' deli rye bread with a pickle on the side... (real rye bread is scarce as hen's teeth here, as are real pickles...) my mouth. watering.

      Zero had better be back with food soon, or I'm going to eat the cat.
    • People Piss me Off!

    • Posted by RabidScareCrow on 7 Mar 08
    • Lately I've been experiencing a sudden volts of rage lately. You know wanting to grab the nearest person regardless of age and gender, and beat the shit out of them. Yell at them. Tell them they live in a world of lies, fake splendor, and fear. Sometimes I have to talk myself off that ledge of anger and violence. I have to calm my self down, or I'll do more harm, and I don't want to. I hate the lies, and the anger
    • Sleepless Dreams

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 7 Mar 08
    • The other night I dreampt that Doktor Sleepless was a paperback tome the size of a hardcover OED; you know, the massive one that takes up about half your desk and then some, and it wasn't a comic, so much as a guide to pretty much anything and everything- rather like a grownup's version of the Beastly book for Boys with an emphasis on technology and a side section on 'a history of the post modern world'. This wouldn't worry me so much if I had actually read the comic, or could get it locally, but as of yet all I've seen of it are a few images online that are rather interesting.

      Oh well. At least it wasn't a dream of arse eels.
    • Z: TBH: From the (un)well

    • Posted by Z on 7 Mar 08
    • If anyone could see the inside of my head right now they'd have me committed (or send me to Disney World; was that redundant?).

      The backbone that kept my mind steady, that kept my head up..'s just snapped. I've snapped.

      For a while I felt as if I bent far enough, reached and grasped, I could maybe pull myself out. If I couldn't, if I did snap, I figured there'd be a loud sound and the whole world would come running and say, 'holy hell what the fuck was that!?'

      Turns out it's the quietest sound in the world. In fact, that noise was probably only in my head.

      It might not make a sound at all.

      - Z
    • Tristan: Seal Our Fate, rough

    • Posted by Tristan on 7 Mar 08
    • ..
      Seal Our Fate, rough sketch
      for Faesthetic
      16 x 20
      oil on panel

      So if you're wondering what's up with the Barack illustration I ran into a little snafu. I'll explain it another time but trust me i've got a solid sketch for it that i haven't posted here and I'll be working on it after the above is completed.

      I should also let you know that I'm illustrating a collection of short stories. The collection will be published and available for purchase for those interested. It's my understanding that this won't be your cheesy cafe-press like publishing job.

      I needed an idea for my Faesthetic Magazine two page spread illustration. Coming up with an idea for "infinity" on my own is proving too difficult. I gave charge to my story teller to create a story fitting a few guidelines that involved infinity.

      The result is a quick story about a maze, a sphinx and a fate I'll spend the rest of my life trying to avoid. I never thought I'd find myself illustrating another feline. We've got an androgynous sphinx statue over looking the mazes entrance and a pair of foot prints. See the image below for an example of how i'll handle the walls of the maze.

      the new anthro catalogue came to day and served as delightful inspiration

    • protosteampunk

    • Posted by Mark Seifert on 6 Mar 08
    • Ran across this nifty 19th century sf character awhile back that I keep meaning to post about. Frank Reade was a classic scientist/adventurer who created steam powered robots and horses, and electric airships during the course of his fictional career. He first appeared in an 1876 NY magazine, and publications featuring his exploits occasionally included quite awesome illos:

      Further reading here and there.
    • Speculation & Brain Titilation

    • Posted by Spiraltwist on 6 Mar 08
    • I have a twitter account. Ok, I have two twitter accounts. I follow people. A few people follow me (why, I haven't figured this out yet). I follow Warren and Ariana on twitter. A few days ago, they were bantering about with one another.

      So tell me, how does one get someone else drunk unless they are there in person?

      Answer is:

      a) do something bad enough to cause them to want to drink
      - Warren has more stuff for her to work on

      b) personally hand them a drink
      - they will see each other in person

      This has been decomposing in my brain. It needs to leave.