Saturday 29 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

I was reminded this evening why I don't like getting caught up in conversations between groups of older women, as the conversation always seems to head for the same territory: people they know who happen to be dead. It's not even that this conversation happens in a wake house that causes it, as I remember being on a workshop group for the long-term unemployed (I was actually in and out of a part-time job for a few years but qualified for the workshop treatment) that was helmed by an older woman and for some reason during the tea breaks our winding-down conversations were fixated on deaths, preferably gruesome ones. I have vague memories of how someone at the table was told she shouldn't (for identification purposes) view the body of a husband or son - I know I sound callous here but I've actually blocked out most of the minutiae over time - who had been flattened by a lorry because there wasn't enough left identifiable as a human being let alone an individual. Then we actually went to even darker places I shan't bother recounting here on the slim possibility someone in the group may be reading.
Alternatively, I also seem to have the same narrow band of conversation when in the company of older men - albeit construction site stories. I may try to exude the air of an educated bohemian by drawing pictures of feminist twentysomethings exploring the consequences of urban ennui and polar bears eating someone's head, but pretty much my entire working adult life has been in the construction trade and I am at heart a slightly stereotypical example of a working class catholic to the point that I willingly bought the Sun on multiple occasions. Yes really.
I don't apologise for it, either, as the Sun is a fantastic example of economic and practical design because it is a newspaper that can be devoured in its entirety during your morning tea break in a way that something on a similar level like The Mirror cannot. The Sun even manages to be economical in the outrage it can instill in you in a way that something like the Guardian can't - it takes a full twenty minutes to digest the latest Monbiot piece on environmental atrocities or Julie Burchill's latest failed attempt to overcompensate for becoming middle-class and having a life so devoid of worth and meaning that she's managed to make Tony Parsons a sympathetic figure, but even then there's barely a flicker of anger at the end of this cold reportage while the Sun can give you a five-paragraph story on dole scroungers on a council estate that makes you want to burn down their offices and manages to instill this towering rage in a matter of minutes. It's a fantastic piece of construction and the only regret I have about buying it for my work breaks was that I didn't have the moral courage to simply buy a real pornographic magazine and a copy of Mein Kamph.

Apologies for rambling, but this is the first time I can recall in ages being this sober. You know what you need in your life? Some Endhiran. Go on - you got to the end of this post and you deserve it.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Of all the harm that ever I've done...

Yep. That's about right.

In the words of the wise Irish philosopher Susanne Morrison, "what goze arund cumms arund!1!", and depressingly sooner than I'd hoped, that 'working on dead' comment I made in a recent post in regard to relatives who have the alcohol bug has come back to haunt me.
In true Irish fashion, I haven't learned a lesson from this, I am getting drunk tonight, and updates may be sporadic while there's wake-housing being done.

Too tall - blood couldn't get to that heart. Just awful to watch.

I am watching the second episode of Being Human to see if it gets so bad it's good. Not so far, but it's very wangsty and it has that 'two male leads living in close quarters so let the slash fiction commence' vibe going for it that might attract True Blood fans willing to settle for less.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

feeling the rush like a heart attack

And so to the end of another unsatisfying page. One page in two days is not ideal, but I remain in high hopes as I simply haven't actually got to sit down for any length of time to try and churn it out yet. I gather this is a common malaise at this time of year as people struggle to settle back down into a routine even though it's nearly February, as I went to the gym last night and the place was bunged with people who obviously hadn't seen a gym for quite some time. Ah, New Year's Resolutions - I remember those! Soon they'll all have given up on ever being fit, but me, I'll be sticking to my guns and drinking every night if it kills me (it will), continuing to not eat meat or any kind of meat byproduct like gelatin (though I'm not a vegetarian), and even though watashi no nihongo hidoi desu ne, I am still trying and that is the main thing.

The Cape - which would be utter crap if it ever stopped taking itself seriously, but as it is, it's a pleasant enough superhero outing even if the name of the superhero is uninspiring, the costume a bit unmemorable and the leading character a bit characterless and flat. It has its problems, but thankfully not being enjoyable is not one of them. It's gloriously daft, knows it, but never once feels the need to wink at the audience or feel ashamed for being a superhero series. It's like Smallville, Heroes and No ordinary Family never happened - which sounds like a great world to live in.
Bob's Burgers - now they haven't marketed this show as best they could have, as I took it to be a nihilistic and one-note Adult Swim-type affair where the burger store gets destroyed or shut down every week in the denouement, but it isn't that kind of show at all. Bob is a struggling everyman and his troubles are constant while he remains true to core values like family and decency and while that may be out of fashion in comedy circles these days, I think it would have benefited the show to be seen as the spiritual animated sitcom successor to King of the Hill that it is rather than something like Home Movies or Drinky Crow. Bob's Burgers maintains an internal logic that stretches across not only the episode but the show as a whole and while the burger bar is struggling it remains open and minor successes are had among the failures which comprise the main comedy moments. I'm pretty much sold on the show now, and do hope it sticks around.
Fairly legal - which has an interesting premise (it follows an ex-lawyer as she pursues a career in mediating legal disputes outside the courtroom), but seems to segue into straightforward legal melodrama too easily. It remains a competently made legalese show, however, and the writing is good with only some hamfisted delivery here and there letting it down.
Shameless (US) - I have never seen the UK version thanks to my need to avoid contemporary drama made by Channel 4 on the basis that I do not hate humanity, but the US version seems unique by way of grounding itself entirely in the Projects - rather than the suburbia beloved of pretty much every US drama I've ever seen featuring white people - and does so without feeling like an ill-considered transatlantic transplant operation like some other shows do...
Being Human (US) - awful. Just awful. Between the leads (particularly the perpetually typecast Sam Witwer's angsty vampire) veering their delivery of comedy reaction between camp and deadpan inconsistently and a very annoying ghost it's bad enough, but there's an unwelcome staginess to the whole affair, from Witwer's brow-rubbing to the anachronistic detached house where proceedings take place for the most part to the ever-reliable vampire staple of baring fangs and hissing at the camera while clawing the air.

Monday 24 January 2011

you can see his stripes but you know he's clean

Not even joking here, I am totally blaming any corrections I need to make on the current page on the cold weather. And also my lack of posts these last couple of days.

All the best blog entries are about the weather - blogging WIN for Bryan.

Friday 21 January 2011

you know when my father wants something it's like sex with Kobe Bryant - you can kick and scream all you want, but it's gonna happen

No work done today, just thumbs.

Jack Daniels was the snifter of choice last evening and I can safely say I won't be doing that again in a hurry. I am really out of the habit of drinking it.

White Collar
2.10 - glossy trash, just how I like it. A bit short on explosions and punch-ups for my liking, but Human Target took a huge dip this season and I need something to be on while I do other things and the improbably pointy-chinned main character of this is somehow not quite smarmy enough to hate to the point I stop watching. Not yet anyway.
Never Let Me Go - in which there's this bit where someone strokes the cheek of the sheep-like main character and calls her a poor creature and it suddenly occurred to me the movie was, if you chose to read it as such, a metaphor for the the English class system as it doesn't actually exist outside whimsy, with the upper/ruling classes never seen and the educated middle classes doling out judgement upon the pitiable working (under) class of ambulatory organ donors who meekly comply to their own deaths-by-inches without ever once questioning why their lives are worth less than their organ recipients. I did like it, all the same, but in the same way I like those daffy episodes of Trek where Voyager's Doctor is kidnapped by a private hospital, or that one where the captain turns into a space walrus because her ship goes too fast and which was so bad the makers decided it would never be referred to ever again.
Royal pains 2.13 - more glossy trash, but this one is about a doctor who works near a beach and whose dad is played by the Fonz. EYYYY!
Sportsdome 1.2 - which has the touching story of a young girl with cancer who only has her hate to keep her going.

Thursday 20 January 2011

brought to you by Smith & Wesson - fine craftsmanship, finer killsmanship

Nothing from me today except sketches.

Which admittedly I ran off just so I could do the daily screen grab.
Sometimes you have off days and can't do the proper work because you're so cold you have to admit the house booze budget will be better spent on heating the place so you can feel your extremities (though the numbness is at least a comforting break from the pain that usually follows when flesh meets a tiled floor). This is one of those days.

Of course, not being able to buy beer means I must now resort to the dangerous volume of Jack Daniels I have in reserve as a matter of habit. I used to drink a bottle of that a night and now I actually tap that out onto the screen... erm...

Watching: Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York - which utilises stock footage of the World Trade Center attack aftermath to make it look like there are clouds of volcano ash billowing through NYC streets. I have no idea what I think of that.
Sportsdome - which I found a lot funnier than I thought I would a spoof of ESPN reportage.
The Good Wife - which I enjoy a bit too much, making me think I am going through the menopause. I suspect this makes me the target audience.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

If there's one thing we've learned in the last thousand miles of retreat it's that Russian agriculture is in dire need of mechanisation

This whole 'page a day' thing hasn't worked out as I'd hoped, though in my defence it's hard to draw when some fucker's made off with your heating oil and it's so cold you can't feel your hands.
When I went out this morning the unheated communal hall is actually warmer than my flat as it has a couple of windows that face the sun, while the flat only has windows facing north and west.
It is a stupid confluence of this, some unfortunate family business, and the free babysitting and grocery delivery I represent as an unemployed scumbag that's stopped me getting up to the speed I want, but we Catholics have a 'never say die' attitude that sees us never resign ourselves to unfortunate circumstances... oh, haha, sorry - I was confusing us with a more sensible worldview for a minute there. We're the ones that have a Nazi - an actual Nazi - as the leader of our religion and it don't worry us none.

Monday 17 January 2011

Yeah, I can sew - why do you ask?

Today I was reminded that other generations have a much more accepting attitude towards death than mine does. The word I would use is 'resigned' and while there's much to be said for dignity in the face of death, I like to think kicking and screaming is the way to go and none of this "it's just a matter of time" stuff, though I do appreciate that for the most part we don't really get a say in the matter.
Still, it's sobering stuff and I have the perfect antidote.

For sobriety, I mean.
By which I mean that I'm going to get drunk like I do most nights.

Watching: The Simpsons 22.11 and holy crap this has been on the air 22 years now. I have vague recollections of people trying to convince me to watch it rather than avoid it because it was never off BBC2 and always seemed to be the same damn episode, but even my patchy viewing history is enough that I know its best days are behind it. This week's is pretty funny, though - Moe turns his bar (Moe's) into a gay bar (Mo's). Not great, but some solid laughs to be had here and there.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then put on your Sunday finest

Bloody perspective again. The worst thing about it is that I do it to myself.

Watching: Hell Comes to Frogtown - in which Roddy Piper makes a really bad career choice following They Live.
Lost In Space - in which noted Christian film-maker John Woo relaunches the camp 1960s space series and then sells the sets to the Sci-Fi Channel so they can make Battlestar Galactica on as little money as possible.
Captain America: The Purple Death - in which the star-spangled avenger battles super-criminality both as the gun-toting vigilante mass murderer Captain America and in his secret identity as district attorney Grant Gardner. Wait - what?

Saturday 15 January 2011

Chris, this is just a shaded-in triangle with the word "muff"

Gah! Perspective - my (and arguably Jack Kirby's) nemesis!
Thankfully this is what Ctrl+T was invented for - dude that makes a pencil that can do it will be almost as rich as the guy who invented the pencil that does Ctrl+Z.

Watching: The Green Hornet - which has been savaged by critics thus far, but which I thought was alright if not essential. It's filled with that 'mumbling out punchlines or vaguely inappropriate comments' humor that's in vogue of late, so the superhero element comes off as forced, and the need for ever-more destructive set-pieces culminates in Green Hornet's cover story as a criminal wiping out his competition essentially being replaced with that of a terrorist/mass murderer at large in Los Angeles and that really doesn't sit well with the tone it's going for, but like I said - it's worth a watch if you're in an indulgent mood, just not a defining moment in cinema, though lord knows why every film needs to be. Can't we just go see films because we've nothing better to do and be perfectly happy that they don't offend us too much? I'm happy with that, to be honest, and I think most people are too. Green Hornet is one of those.
It's also the first film I've seen in the 3D and it's likely not the best first 3D experience given that I thought the effect either detracted from the film or was unnecessary for the current scene, though the bit near the end with the updated tv show logo and theme in 3D screamtune-o-rama was boss.
The Green Hornet - for a fan movie it's pretty good, though it goes nowhere and ends abruptly. Made by Frenchmen and shot in the English language, which you can kind of tell.

Friday 14 January 2011

I have never got up that early in my life unless fish were involved

How bizaahh - yesterday's post seems to have been dated as last Tuesday. I'm going to blame Vista for it because there's no point putting these things off like I do my drawing and dialysis.

Watching: a veritable cartoonarama this last couple of days, but among the highlights were Family Guy 9.8, in which the show ventures into new territory by being objectively good, with fuck-witted patriarch Peter Griffin becoming addicted to Red Bull and destroying his kidneys. The only compatible donor for a replacement is family pet/failed writer Brian who will be killed by the surgery, prompting a melodramatic and largely straight-faced second half of the show that is somehow even funnier than if they'd gone for laughs - though I grant you this isn't saying much going by Family Guy's standards.
Also Transformers: Prime 1.1-1.5 - which ventures into new territory for the talking, ambulatory alien vibrators by being a wee bit good. A CGI offering that borrows the stylistic trappings, bombastic soundtrack, random lapses into slow-motion and character designs from the live-action movies, the show largely blazes its own ADHD-friendly trail through the sparsely-populated American midwest (less people to animate, I imagine) as franchise stalwarts Peter Cullen and Frank Welker return as Optimus Prime and Megatron alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Ernie Hudson, Adam Baldwin and Jeffrey Combs. While it's gratifying to see the 'toon achieve with ease the kind of badassery the films haven't managed to reach while simultaneously shoehorning in neat visual references to sources as disparate as Jackie Chan's Rob B Hood, John Woo's A Better Tomorrow and John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, I'm not entirely sure why I gave this iteration of the show a look given the quality of everything from Energon, Cybertron, Beast Wars and even the original 1984 animated effort (the less said of the live action movies the better), but it is actually quite enjoyable, with Optimus managing to do something other than show up to die like a bitch as he does in all the other versions. Here, you actually believe it when Optimus kills an entire army of the undead with his bare hands (because bullets won't do the job fast enough) and then in order to throttle Megatron pulls himself up a sheer cliff face with those same bare hands because - and I am not making this up - his legs are too tired from kicking ass for him to walk.
Bob's Burgers - an animated effort meant to replace definately-canceled-forever-this-time King of the Hill, it seems a little more gross-out than KotH, but still as rooted in the idea of family and moral lessons learned, even if they're the wrong lessons and the wrong person has learned them. It's a decent enough show but it's hard to tell if it has legs beyond the first episode. I'll still be tuning in, though.
Does 'tuning in' work in the context of just watching stuff on the internet? Whatever - I'll be internetting Bob's Burgers next week.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

he is a pitiless man, double tough and fear don't enter into his thinkin'

Another year begins - well, it begins two weeks ago, but I'm not one to rush things as anyone who's been following my progress drawing their scripts can attest. Better late than never, I am back to the bloggy grind for the new year, and the first post is of course the obligatory new year resolutions I shall probably fail to live up to:
1 - Put on weight. The exact opposite never seems to work out particularly well.
2 - Drink more - because the alternative is a losing battle thanks to my family tree and genetic heritage of dead, reformed, and 'working on dead' alcoholics. A lot of alcoholics, it must be said, but they all have a valid excuse because being catholic in Northern Ireland - especially in the 70s and 80s - there wasn't a whole pile of self-pity or feelings of persecution so the mass consumption of alcohol until their body started to kill them undoubtedly seemed a great way to redress the balance. Anyway, instead of fearing the beast I shall master it, though to be honest I'm spending more money than I'd like and I'm only consuming an average of two pints a day - to be perfectly honest I'd like an early night already.
3 - Watch the video for Holy Diver more often than is healthy. I have never been a Dio fan even though I have long been a follower of Black Sabbath, but it seems this was my loss as his brand of borderline-parody metal is pure entertainment, and until I come across something in his oeuvre as good, I shall be playing catch-up by watching what looks suspiciously like Freddie Mercury's dad acting out a scene from Hawk the Slayer to a metal song that could not be more 1980s if it had a perm.

4 - Skip meat until July. I used to be a full veggie but got tired of a hostile reaction if it ever came up in conversation, so I went back to eating flesh. Never did understand why telling someone I was veggie engendered hostility, as my reason back then wasn't animal welfare or anything noble or militant, I just didn't like the taste much - apart from bacon sandwiches. Anyone who does not like bacon sandwiches is clearly insane.
5 - Engage with more bear-related media projects. Last year's quota of ursine-instigated murder-based entertainment was disappointingly slim, so this year I have resolved to counter this unfortunate trend as best I can through creating some myself or consuming entertainment of a bear-related nature. Unfortunately this means at some point I shall pay money to see the film Yogi Bear for the sake of seeing through my ambitions to their conclusion.
6 - Be less of a prick. I always fail at this one, but feel making the effort is important.
7 - A page a day. I'm a terrible organiser, but feel it's time I started to act professional about the comicy stuff given that it's actually going somewhere at last, and a reasonable page rate for any working professional is a page a day.
8 - Get a job. It's been too long since I had full-time employment so I figure it's time to fly in the face of all reason and try to find a job in my hometown that does not involve the processing of dead flesh for human consumption. I haven't had good work experiences but I gather this is a universal thing, and while my last 'proper' boss short-changed my final wage packet by several hundred pounds, it's probably worth it as I can say in a legally defensible manner that Kieron Hughes, proprietor of Hughes Glazing (Cookstown) is a liar, a cheat and a welsher.
9 - Get more hits for the blog so the above statement is the first result every time someone Googles "Hughes Glazing Cookstown". This one's self-explanatory, though possibly means I have already failed resolution #6.
10 - Learn an instrument. Because bass guitar does not really count.
11 - Learn a language. I have no idea why I haven't got around to doing this already given how much anime I have watched in my lifetime, but I figure it's a handy bit of CV-padding if nothing else.

And that's it from me for today. Back to posting cryptic panels from my ongoing projects and screen grabs of Vista fucking with my shit as of tomorrow, but I do hope you've had a jolly christmas and a stress-free new year thus far and will stick around for my rambling and latterly libelous blog posts.