Saturday 21 December 2013

I just wish I was better at liking myself. That's one of the things I hate about me.

Last daily post for a while as Chrimbo looms.  I'm just clearing up the backlog of shorter and self-contained work I have owed and then hopefully I'm clear in the new year to get stuck into a long project again.
Shouldn't be the last post I make this year, but in case it is, Happy Nondenominational Holiday to you all and I leave you with that classic tune about people who love each other being stuck in a small room together and giving in to anger and bitterness when the maudlin sentimentality fails to get them through the day - it is basically the perfect Christmas song:

Friday 20 December 2013

what we're sayin' feels real expository

Away from ghost stories whose pages are still at the "hot mess" stage of multiple sketch layers and copy/paste elements and line tools - ugh, take my word for it, it's like a bomb went off on the layers palette - I am researching the speed of light because it did not occur to me before that if you go as fast - or faster - than the thing that lets you see, you might not be able to see, or at least would perceive things differently, and I am learning new things: primarily the difference between red and blue shifting between wavelengths.  There's also relativity to look into next, theories on time dilation and the like, which I imagine will only take a minute or two of my time to understand.

Thursday 19 December 2013

What kind of doctor would cut a man down to what I am now and still let him live..?

Just spent two hours researching cactus species so I can draw (counts panels) a background detail in three panels out of 80 - I get the cactus in the background right and the story is hard science fiction, but I get the cactus in the background wrong and it's sci-fi.

This is genuinely how I roll.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Surely you can understand how a crazy man might find all this just a bit upsetting

Getting close to Christmas and we all know what that means: ghost stories meant to make you feel terrified to be alone on this holiday season.  You know - the true meaning of Christmas.
Speaking of awful Christmases, I heard a cover of this today at the gym through no fault of my own.  It was dreadful, flat, lifeless, devoid of joy, but I didn't catch the name of the karaoke sing - erm, I mean cover artist, so let's wrap our lugs around the original and not worry who did what or why.

Monday 16 December 2013

In my experience when someone has to tell you they're all the way in, you'd better hope their tongue works

One of the things I like about the current incarnation of Hawaii 5-o is its willful stupidity and dogged chasing of the conservative American audience traditionally glued to the likes of Bones or Law & Order: Rape Squad by appearing to be an even glossier version of those shows but with marginally more liberal politics, though I have to admit that even I was baffled by the racial and political commentary of this week's outing (season 4, episode 10: "Hoʻonani Makuakane").  Spoilers ahead, obviously:

While attending the Pearl Harbor memorial, Steve McGarratt prevents a Japanese man from shooting an elderly veteran.  The man claims to be an internee from the 1940s whose father was murdered by the veteran when he was caught in the act of stealing the family's ceremonial katana from the tent where they were interned.  Much is made of the shameful treatment of Japanese Americans and their imprisonment, with characters explicitly mentioning onscreen the kind of things that went on - guards brutalising prisoners, even killing them for doing nothing more than saying no to orders - and no bones are made about their legal status: the Japanese Americans weren't soldiers or criminals, they were citizens who were victims of institutionalised racism.
The plot continues: McGarratt questions the truculent, evasive and outright rude veteran who refuses to help the investigation and McGarratt inplies that perhaps the veteran does not like the Japanese, though he bases this on flimsy clues like the man using terms like "Japs" and "of course I hated them" and his being a guard in an internment camp, though the veteran flips the script all up in McG's grill when the vet's daughter comes in and she's clearly Asian, so the veteran says "HOW CAN I HATE THEM WHEN I MARRIED ONE" without a hint of irony.  The exact circumstances of the death continue to be clouded because the official reports have been altered by soldiers in the camp - a cover up - but with "police work" (running around going PEW PEW) the truth is revealed: the veteran didn't kill anyone, it was the little brother of another camp guard, who broke into the camp and robbed the people in it while his brother covered this up and the veteran is guilty of nothing more than lying and obstructing justice for 70 years.  So, tearfully, the Japanese man apologises to the veteran for thinking that he had anything to do with the murder or subsequent cover-up while Steve McGarratt looks on approvingly.

I have not a fucking clue what to make of this episode of television.  Obviously, the main issue for me would be that there is not enough Dano in it and its present-day procedural elements hinge almost entirely upon the deeply dull McGarratt, but it also culminates with a Japanese man who sought not cynical monetary recompense but recognition of the injustice done to his family (they're shown onscreen having their home invaded by soldiers and federal agents who racially abuse them, beat them, then steal that home and property from them), yeah, that guy is shown apologising to his internment camp guard - a man who we are told was a brutal racist - despite the camp guard being a part of exactly what the Japanese guy was accusing him of.  There's other things in the episode, too, like McGarratt putting the Japanese man under "house arrest" - internment by any other name - and acting like the guy should be grateful at this bizarre insensitivity, or the fact that the show on multiple occasions makes a direct equivalence between soldiers on active duty overseas in World War 2 and soldiers guarding internment camps who brutalised, killed, and robbed innocent American civilians and then participated in a cover-up of events for seven decades, to the point that the main characters salute the latter at the start and end of the episode.  It is bonkers logic and I am convinced that something is going on here that I just can't understand because I had two beers before I started watching and the lack of transforming robots or exploding spaceships means that my attention wandered and I missed massive subtleties in the story that made everything a clever and knowing satire.
Fair play, though, in among all the scenes where Japanese America apologises for the inconvenience it caused, the show just rubs internment in its audience's face: "yes, this is what we did!" it says "and some people still defend it!" it continues.  I recently watched my way through the fifth season of The Twilight Zone and the episode The Encounter stated - erroneously - that there were Japanese traitors in the US citizenry, but H5o does no such thing, it rather bluntly puts that to bed with a character shouting the truth at the tv screen.  There's also some clumsy exposition that points out that the Japanese Americans who were segregated into their own fighting unit went on to become the most highly-decorated unit in the history of the US military which is a fascinating story all on its own, and there's even some interesting Hawaii-specific insights to internment, such as how community leaders, politicians and teachers were targeted for internment because there were so many Japanese Americans on the islands (a third of the population) that the economy would implode if they were all locked up, so martial law was instead declared across Hawaii and those capable of organising the populace were removed from it.
I like it when racism is rubbed in an audience's face because it's something that tends to be swept under the rug these days like it isn't a problem anymore, or in the case of some BBC programming, racism is retroactively erased from period dramas, which I just find deeply disturbing rather than "cosy" which is what I assume they were going for, but this hot mess of an episode mixes up all kinds of odd and conflicting notions on the idea of how far America has or hasn't come and if it got me thinking, it's probably got others thinking, too, so as I say, I don't really understand what's going on in this episode, but it at least stirs the pot a little.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Have you ever woken up in the morning..? It's horrible. The sun is in the wrong place.

Looks like it'll be a short blogging week as I have to take a small holiday to go see Black Sabbath in Belfast - which you may know as the home of Harland and Wolff, makers of the Titanic, officially the most rubbish ship ever built and whose near-continuous celebration by the city council with millions of pounds of public money is basically a paradigm for why Northern Ireland is the first-world version of a third-world shithole that it is.
I don't mind admitting that I had doubts I'd get to see Sabbath, because I bought the tickets almost a year ago and I don't think anyone expected them all to still be alive by now.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

I thought I'd changed, but I'd just got good at pretending to like things I don't like

What to say about Who Dares Wins that the the guy who scrawled "shit sandwich" on a wall already hasn't?  It is basically a film where the SAS gun down hippies, but take over two hours to do so - an expanse of time in which members of the real SAS would have gunned down any number of unarmed civilians, heck, even the Met took less time than that to execute that Brazilian electrician.  But when all's said and done, it is not that Who Dares Wins is right wing, misogynistic, unconvincing and riddled with plot holes, it is that it's the most criminal of things where entertainment is concerned - it is boring.

Friday 6 December 2013

Whatever it is you're trying to do I appreciate it, but this is one of those rare problems with no magic solution

The Black Rhino, Paul Walker, and now Nelson Mandela - it has been a sucky month on the famous deaths front and no mistake.  Mandela especially is significant because he was operating on a level of fame and significance that seems hard to achieve nowadays when you can be a worldwide phenomenon just by being a dog hugging a kitten or a notably terrible cabaret act thanks to the ubiquitous nature of video capture and hosting technology, but Back In The Day, Mandela was a name synonymous with the struggle against the remnants of the kind of nonsense we've grown out of.
Still, hard to be sad when you see how old he lived to be and how many of his own children he outlasted.  He'll be mourned by some, quietly cursed by others and used as a soundbite by the rest while the PR game is played out "of course our party supported apartheid and keeping him in prison, but really, I am saddened by his death as my signing this condolence book in front of assembled photographers will surely prove much more than a public apology for being a bunch of grubbing, soul-less reptiles ever could."

Digital napkin time again.  Looking a little threadbare this time out - though not as threadbare as last month's Manga Studio 5-sponsored exercise in frustration and fruitlessness - and not helped by my deciding I'll be using some of it for a pitch so I've redacted the relevant pages.  If I've judged my target market correctly - and I think my opinions expressed here on the blog have proven I'm in synch with popular opinion on all matters - everyone loves Battlefield Earth, so Battlefield Earth fanfiction will surely bring me riches.

If it helps, I'm not sure if I'm being serious, either, but I do hope you and yours have a very good weekend.

You never really know someone until after they're dead - that's something I learned from reading Tom Sawyer and killing people

I haven't really pulled my weight in terms of whoring me and Lee Robson's Babble, so I'll post the new teaser video here seeing as I should probably be doing more than just threatening to kill five puppies for every unsold print copy of the book that remains on Amazon.

And I am not joking about the puppies.  Prevent my cold-blooded puppycaust by buying a loved one a slice of horriffic British-made misery today!

Thursday 5 December 2013

My bed doesn't wear a skirt - it's a dude

Just a hit and run post today.  I have had the pleasure of investigating the official UK music chart in my capacity as someone who hasn't had to listen to commercial radio in nearly 8 years and my God it's a fucking wasteland out there.  Leaving aside that most song titles and/or artists make it look like they're just jamming random words together and calling it a day, it's come to something when you seriously tell yourself "at least Robbie Williams is still going."

Wednesday 4 December 2013

You had me at "fuck you"

For years, the Southern drawl of the American redneck was synonymous with poor-ass yokels, possibly because the biggest advertisements for it were a television show about joyriding cousin-shaggers and a movie about some city folk being delivered to some fine hoedown tunes (as far as I can remember, though I admit I only saw the first fifteen minutes or so before I fell asleep), but latterly it only seems to represent rich white folk on my tv.  I suppose whatever was wrong that made everyone in that bit of  America poor was fixed like they fixed Los Angeles.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

friendship isn't about trust - friendship is about nunchucks

It was with sadness that I read of the passing of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker.
There was a joke - made in good humor - on a recent War Rocket Ajax podcast about Walker and his fellow F&F cast members such as Ludacris and how they do nothing but make Fast & Furious movie sequels, and while that's erroneous in Walker's case, it's at least a true reflection of how he's viewed in popular culture, to the extent that headlines conflated his name and manner of death in a regrettably ghoulish attempt to grab attention with the perceived irony - "Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker dies in car crash" went the headline on the Guardian website, of all places.
But yes, I will grant that Walker is known best to me for his part in one of the more enjoyably daft film franchises of the last decade.  I'm not a big petrolhead and for the most I despise car culture, but Fast & Furious isn't about cars, it's about machismo and what we expect of ourselves as men and the dichotomy between what's expected of us and what we desire for ourselves and why.  They're less celebratory of the macho culture of which they often display a knowing awareness, and ultimately betray themselves as melancholic films despite their low body count and eye-pleasing cast of  models like Walker striding alongside walking parodies of masculinity like the gravel-toned Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnston.
They're dumb films, but they're not stupid, and if you're on the fence you could do a lot worse than check them out.