August 22nd, 2006
|luckyhoss||02:24 pm - poster of the year!|
I read a short article about a Mpls woman who makes it her work to attempt to preserve and renovate unpopular historic landscape and architecture sites in the style of Midcentury Modern. They are not old enough to be considered officially historic at this point (1960's) and the public tends to dislike them because they're concrete and "ugly" and out of fashion. Peavey Plaza is an example of a work she is crackin' away at, without pay I do believe. The thing that caught my attention the most (other than the initial spark due to me myself liking Midcentury Modern) is that this woman is doing something I generally associate with championing public good but for a wholly unlauded cause that the public is uninterested in. What a cool weirdo.
*edit: her name is Jean Garbarini and she works for Close Landscape Architecture.
I've joined the el jay Realists. Part of it was being solicited to, but I won't lie, I've been considering it for awhile now. Maybe I just like being invited to things. I agree with the philosphy previously laid out by members and would like to emphasize that I take pride it keeping it Real, even on the internet. Maybe especially on the internet. It's a glorious place to let your id hang out, if you'll excuse the likely outdated psycholoanalytic phrasing. So I gladly join this community to be free of pretense*.
Somewhat on topic of the Great Moderator's very early post on the word "computer": I worked at a facility with a young woman who had moderate physical and developmental disabilities. She had a difficult time talking. She got out one labored syllable at a time that was hard to catch if you weren't used to the way she spoke. I used to go out into the community with her and she would buzz right up in her quick little electric wheelchair and request a "mick khak-kee" leaving the poor salesgirls probably wondering what the fuck a "mint coffee" even is provided they could interpret those words. Anyhow, she used to say the word computer like "com pook er" which I adapted to "com-puke-r." Maybe it's stupid, but it's always seemed ever so appropriate to me. Maybe the rest of you have less of a love-hate relationship with these idiot boxes, though.
In closing, I'll make one of those loverly icons shortly, but for now I'm at work with no good image-manipulation software. Hopefully a simple Real Photo of me will do.
*at least, free of the kind of pretense that I dislike and full of the kind I rather enjoy.
June 5th, 2005
In light of our periodic convis concerning the future of "video games", some Realists may find this link interesting:
...video footage of a large cat can be found here:
June 2nd, 2005
|ultidestru||01:25 pm - Our implausible lives|
I remember once my dad and I were driving through the country. It was a bright, clear day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky... except one. This cloud was small, and shaped like a thumbprint. And it was dark. Implausibly dark. "Boy, if you painted that it would sure look dumb," my dad said, "It looks dumb up there!" And it did. It was real, but by god it didn't look realistic.
I'm curious if I can get any of you fellow realists to do this. Think of a moment from your life that, when removed from context, seems implausible. Like if you read it in a book you'd roll your eyes cuz it'd just be too weird or ridiculous or whatever. Write about this moment under the comments section of this entry. You can phrase it however you like, but try not to embellish or lie.
I'll go first so you know what I'm talking about:
**Standing on top of a plateau near the border of Laos, singing the US national anthem at the top of my lungs along with another American, while a couple of Brazilians sang their respective national anthem at the top of their lungs
**Sitting in a greasy spoon in Minnesota with a Norwegian, a Japanese, a Serbain and a Spaniard
**Watching a five legged cow being fed beer while walking up to a monkey temple
Can I get two other Realists to participate, I wonder?
April 18th, 2005
Tell me more.
Current Mood: curious
April 15th, 2005
|ultidestru||02:22 pm - 開けろ エロ本を売れ！|
Realists from the olden days might remember my tirade posted on my good friend Pierce Grubbo's L.J.'s comment section about how Japanese movies usually don't engage me in the way Chinese movies often do. This being despite the fact that I live in Japan, speak some Japanese, and "understand" Japanese culture, none of which is the case with China-HongKong-Taiwan. Why is this? I wondered aloud. Realists and non-Realists alike posted their theories.
At the time, I could only come up with one Japanese movie that I really liked*. Now a new movie has joined this exclusive club, and I don't think it would be overstating the point to call this movie a real humdinger.
This movie is called "The Ba-baa Zone" ("The Grandma Zone"). It's comprised of six short pieces, so it sort of resembles a sketch comedy show. I've haven't laughed so hard since when I first saw "Mr. Show" for the first time. On the surface it just seems like some generic, wacky Japanese comedy show, but there's just something about it... I dunno. Have any other Realists seen this film? I really want to show it to Vogdoid and knotwellone, but at the same time I could really see both of them being like "W.T.F.?" But to me, this movie is like just one rung below "The Forbidden Zone" in terms of incredible "B-movies".
Anyway, there's a trailer for it here:
*Not including the works of Hayao Miyazaki, natch. "The exception that proves the rule" and all that.
March 4th, 2005
|ultidestru||09:47 am - Awesome and Cool news!|
This is probably of interest only to fellow Realists only so I'll post it here. I've finally finished the first 10% of my "graffikk nuhvelle"! That's right, a meaty 22 pages of a presumable 220 (or so) are completely done!
"Big flippin' deal" seems like an appropriate response, I suppose. Some Realists probably didn't even know I was a "graphic novelist" in the first place; others probably reasonably assumed I was further along. But for me being able to say I've finally finished these pages feels momumental. It's taken me about seven and a half months (!) to get even this much done, and while I haven't been putting in sixty hour weeks on the thing or anything, I've been working on it pretty regularly.
So why did it take so long, you wonder? First off I'm working a full time job, and in addition to the comic I try to devote some of my free time to the study of Japanese.(I want to finally be able to understand "Tenchi Muyo" in its native language after all!) But "those in the know" know (by definition) that my "full-time job" affords me a LOT of free time and that the comic only has four panels per page. So how the hey could it take so long?
A big part of it is in the editing. I can't really be sure but I wouldn't be surprised if I've spent half of those seven and a half months just editing the drawings and text. I started drawing the thing before I really had a grasp on how the characters looked and as such they changed from panel-to-panel in a way that I felt was disruptive (it bothered me anyway). And of course there was all the nitpicking about the text in the speech bubbles that you writers of prose probably know all too well.
But on a more fundemental level, the very format and style itself had to be crafted and that was a slow process. I must have gone through four or five different styles before I finally settled on how I wanted to represent sound effects, and the spacing of the gutters and the page size also went through revisions. The very style of the characters' faces themselves changed a couple times, requiring me to redo the faces of basically every main character two or three times. And then there was a point at about page 15 where I decided I needed to add an extra tint to the whole thing which required me to go back and change each and every panel to adjust for the change. The story itself has been revised several times and is still decidedly a work in progress.
When I think of all the bullshit I've done, it sort of adds up, all the time this thing took. You could probably make a very good case that all my anal retentive editing wasn't worth all the effort (my girlfriend thinks I'm crazy, for example), and I'd agree with you if the comic was only going to be 40 pages long. But since I'm going to be working on this thing for a long, long time yet, I have to be able to look at those first pages and think they look okay or I'll never be able to finish the whole thing (might not be anyway, but...)
I can't remember but I think I calculated once that if I continue at this pace it would take me like six or seven years to finish the whole thing. In fact I had originally hoped to be where I am now six months ago. But now that most of the format issues are sorted out, I should be able to work at a... well... slightly quicker pace. Sigh.
Sorry to blather on, but like I said finishing these piddly 22 pages feels like a huge deal to me and I needed to rant about it. Bless those of you who read the whole thing!
February 17th, 2005
|vogdoid||12:26 pm - The Uncanny Valley|
This LJ entry by Momus will be of interest to Realists living outside of North America:
Current Music: Cheryl Lynn
January 28th, 2005
January 17th, 2005
|ultidestru||09:02 am - Random Shit, vol. two|
I know what I'm about to say isn't true, y'know, like ontologically, but for the purpose of discussion grant me some leeway won't ya?
Okay, Japanese people are too slow to question the status quo and are too concerned about the opinions of others. I remember being shocked when I discovered there even WAS a teacher's union here (what the hell are those fucks DOING, anyway?) and you here the phrase "It can't be helped" more often than not NOT in regards to acts of God, but rather acts of man, which of course CAN be helped. Foreign cultures are an easy target when you're addressing others from outside that culture, and I get sick of a lot of the knee-jerk insulting I hear from fellow expats about Japan. But regardless, I think the above is more true than not.
Americans, on the other hand, are too arrogant, I think. "Arrogant" is actually not quite the right word, but I can't find another one ("lack of humility", maybe?). Anything that might suggest that someone is "better" than someone else is off limits. Americans say things like "We're the greatest country in the world" despite never having been anywhere else. I think the current administration is a good example of this quality at its worst.
We artists tend to have our fair share of pigheaded arrogance. A friend of mine (identity protected) recently wrote about his past on his livejournal, and when people complimented him in the comments section saying things such as "Good story" he jumped on their backs, saying that it wasn't a story, but was in fact "kind of his fucking life". Okay, first off, he's wrong. What he's written on his livejournal is no more his life than a photograph of a hamburger is something you can eat. But on top of that, he was literally saying "Fuck you" to people that were COMPLIMENTING him! There seemed to be a very disturbing unwillingness to really even listen to what they were saying. I have to say, it actually kind of pissed me off the way he flew off the handle.
I usually don't react so violently, but I too am probably guilty of "what do you know" defensiveness when it come to criticism. I dunno, there might be a few Picassos and Dostoevskys out there that are the kings, that probably don't have anything to learn from anyone in terms of a "teacher-student" relationship, but for the rest of us, well. There's a LOT I have to learn yet about making comics (my chosen artform). Right now I'm working on the art of crafting a story itself. In the past I've kind of faked my way through it, which was probably okay when you're writing something that'll take someone 10 minutes to read. What I'm working on now will be more than three times longer than anything I've ever done, and the reader getting bored suddenly becomes a real issue. Holding interest is a very subtle skill, but an important one that I need to develop. I'm swallowing my pride and reading books on the subject.
Like each and every living soul in Japan, you can take humility to an unfruitful extreme. If you start talking about target markets and shit like that than you're probably not creating art anymore. "But at the end of the day" blah blah blah blah