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    • Monday Morning

    • Posted by Mark Seifert on 28 Jan 08
    • I was telling a friend recently that I've been meaning to do this for awhile -- a little blogging aside from the avatarpress.com and twitter stuff. Timing's a little funny though, as my at-large surfing has dropped dramatically since Avatar helps host so many interesting sites ourselves these days. And of course you know what's right around the corner, and a few weeks after that-- we'll be launching another site with someone else you'll be interested to hear from.

      But, a few links of recent interest this morning:

      Been dying to find the time to throw this block of 1983 MTV on my spare machine and watch it in the background. Hope there's some Martha Quinn in there though.

      Just spent a few minutes catching up with Mick Farren's blog. Farren is the author of the Renquist Quartet among other things, and someone you might like since you've found your way to Whitechapel.

      These recent reddit developments interest me, as I've often wondered what you'd get if you did the digg thing more focused. Say, based around people who read Avatar books. Always meant to play with pligg, but something we've never quite found the time for.
    • Monkeys get all the cool shit...

    • Posted by Don Kelly on 28 Jan 08
    • So, I'm reading this article about sleep deprivation and how they have monkeys snorting the hormone that sleeplessness exhausts. Test group monkeys stay as refreshed as well rested monkeys for up to 36 hours. Placebo monkeys with nothing but Starbucks and standard nasal spray become edgy bastards in the same time frame.

      This research has the catchy title of "sleep replacement drugs," and is funded by Darpa so we can fight wars longer and work longer days and such.

      Still, I could use a bottle now since I have no sleep substitute and self-medicate with too much coffee.

      Working on the first of two stories for Clarion, both new drafts of first drafts from last year. '07 wasn't a good creative year and I shut it down by June. But, these were good nuggets. Just need some polish is all.

      If history holds I will be typing until the March 1st deadline. Part of me whispers gleeful malevolence that this will not happen. That I will blow yet another deadline, my history of the last couple of years.

      Then another part of me wants to know if I'm joking. School? Fucking school? You've been represented. You've had meetings. You've been to the parties. Shook the hands. Talked the shit.

      Yup. I have. I've also burned the old bridges. Fired the old people. Things like Clarion worked in the past. Got me discovered the first time. Might work again. Besides, it might be nice to live in San Diego for six weeks with nothing to do but write.

      Guess I better finish the stories, then.

      Maybe I should write one about a monkey whose consciousness slowly evolves over the 36 hours he's awake and refreshed for. The doctors note his sudden loss of interest in mundane monkey pursuits like masturbation and shit flinging. He sits alone, contemplative, staring at the camera suspended from the ceiling. The doctors shudder, wondering whose studying who.

      And the monkey wonders whether he should post his thoughts under a Creative Commons license.
    • I Hate Technology

    • Posted by alwayscrashing on 28 Jan 08
    • I’ve been having odd issues with my Virgin Media TV box. Sometimes it starts moving around the menus, canceling and starting programs at random. I had thought it was overheating so I moved my hard drives away from it to make it run cooler and keep the vents at the side clear. It got a little better so I assumed it was the heat but it still did it sometimes so I thought it must be faulty and was going to call Virgin Media but now I have discovered the problem…

      iPods.

      I was watching something on the ‘On Demand’ service and stood up to charge my iPod in the dock. Which is on the shelf with my VCR, DVD and Virgin Media box. As soon as I moved the iPod near it it cancelled the program I had on and then went on a bare-arsed, screaming bender around the menus until it hit a brick wall and couldn’t do anything more.

      “Odd..”, I thought to myself.

      I set it back to the main menu and them moved the iPod near to it again. The same happened. I tried it with another iPod. Same again. The iPods weren’t even on, they were in sleep mode. I just tried and my mobile phone does the same thing to it.

      Do people even bother testing devices for interference any more? Or to see if they interfere with other things?

      I am going to have to work out a way of keeping sufficient distance between things now… I doubt I’ll be able to move the hard drives back onto the shelf where the iPods go either seeing as they caused a problem too.

      I hate you, Virgin Media. I hate you in the face with knives.
    • Five More Minutes

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 27 Jan 08
    • "Resurrection Daily" This is what I think of when I start my day. I don't wake up with some chipper Pollyanna ease, a bucket of smiles. I usually don't wake up with a smile on my face. Usually I check the clock, to see if I can sleep for another half hour, and hide back under the massive pile of blankets.

      I've been told my IQ is pretty high (Gifted). I've been told I have a lot of talent. I know a lot of random things about random topics, have a BFA, and nearly a B.S. in Bio, and really? it doesn't matter.

      What does matter is that I do get up in the morning. I leave my bed, turn off my alarm clock and get on with life.
      .
      I'm not rich. I'm not famous. And, contrary to the belief of co-workers, I am not a Just and Vengeful God of washing dishes.

      I'm just another girl, a grab bag of merits and flaws. And the first thing that goes through my mind when I wake up in the morning is not some witty, pithy remark. It's "Oh god. Time to wake up again? Can't I have Five More Minutes?!"

      What can I say? My bed is comfy. But I can't stay there forever. Life calls.
    • WiTCH DOCTOR Workblog 1: Introductions & Inseminations

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 27 Jan 08
    • My name's Brandon. I'm the writer on a forthcoming comic called Witch Doctor. It's a "medical horror" comic (think Hellboy meets House M.D.) drawn by Portland illustrator Lukas Ketner.

      Here's the synopsis:
      It's a sick world. Literally.

      The universe is an organism, and the creatures of myth and folklore are invading parasites, preying on the native species and disrupting the ordered systems of the world.

      It's a sick world, and Dr. Vincent Morrow's here to treat it. Headhunted into an exciting new career in the black arts after his excommunication from the medical community, Morrow serves the world with both hands -- one in magic, one in medicine -- as earth's protector. Earth's Witch Doctor.
      This spring we'll be releasing Witch Doctor: First Incision, a 16-page "demo" comic, basically a proof-of-concept for the series. We're releasing it free on the web, accompanied by a streaming soundtrack, and we're planning on debuting the printed edition at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland at the end of April. After that, we'll be shopping the series to some publishers.

      I thought I'd take this opportunity Warren's giving us and run a workblog in this space, with concept and promo art as well as links to music and other stuff that's inspiring the series.

      "It's a sick world" is one of the major themes of Witch Doctor. Beyond that the phrase refers to the doctor in the title and to the state of the universe we're creating, it also speaks to the way we're approaching supernatural horror -- welding the archetypal creatures of the genre to the sickest things in the animal kingdom.

      Take the way bed bugs reproduce -- it's called "traumatic insemination." Male bed bugs don't bother getting the ladies drunk, they just impale them in the abdomen with their penises and pump semen into the wound. There's only a few species of insects that do this. It's good for the males, because it's a way to get around mating resistance in females, but it's obviously hard on the females who then have to heal and often get infections. So female have evolved 'paragenitalia' in the spots where they're usually stabbed.

      (The potential bandname of the day is "Hypodermic Genitalia.")

      Witch Doctor: Traumatically inseminating your brain.

      Until next time, go listen to The Builders and the Butchers, a band that plays rock and roll as invented by poor kids in the South during the Great Depression. It's Americana Gothic, and lots of murder ballads -- plus useful messages like "All true love will leave you on your knees in the rain." Here's their song "Bottom of the Lake."

      The Builders and the Butchers "Bottom of the Lake"

      Next Entry: 2: I eat you
    • Pop Culture Asylum

    • Posted by edyhdrawde on 27 Jan 08
    • You know I read comics, and I'm just an average Joe. But I figured that I would review a comic or two each week. Will it help you choose a new title to read that you might not normally pick up? Maybe. Will it give me something to do, when I should be doing something else? Most likely.

      First, I just want to give a quick review of Messiah CompleX, yes I capitalized the X at the end. I enjoyed the storyline a good deal. I thought it was well thought out. I liked the tough team leader Cyclops. While "Slim" has never been one of my favorite X-Men, this recent change in him is a pleasant change. Not sure what I think of the new "X-Force" though, but I like Crane's art so we shall see. I would prefer Kyle and Yost stay on New X-Men. I like the idea of Bishop gone bad. Not sure I like the "M" on Madrox's face now. There were no big deaths. My one issue with the story's end, just as I had the same problem with the end of House of M. I was just waiting for Cyclops to utter "No more X-Men" ala Scarlet WItch's "no more mutants", I enjoyed where they went with the story after House of M and hopefully I will feel the same about the X-Men, but in both cases it felt a little out of place, especially that Cyclops would end the X-Men with.

      Okay, so I have rambled on incoherantly enough for now. I'm getting ready to sit down and read Virgin Comics, The Stranded. I'll pass along my opinion afterward.