And here's the kid's show that should go on the air right now, Yo! Gabba Gabba!. The site has a trailer and two songs for downloading -- we showed Emily the trailer a couple days ago when she was sick and it perked her right up. She now insists on seeing the trailer as many times as we can stand and has added the phrase "gabba gabba" to her repertoire. (Her favorite character is Brobee, the green stripey guy.)
The show isn't acually real yet, but with the minds of the Aquabats behind it you know it'll be fantastic. Hopefully someone will pick it up and Emily can enjoy Yo! Gabba Gabba! for real someday! (And in the meantime, where's the merch, guys? Do I have to make her a Brobee shirt myself?)
In other news, my hosting problems continue, and between work, upcoming Mocca and Emily's having been sick (and the bad Mr. Jinx news) I can't attend to it right now. Sorry to those of you who have had trouble commenting or who's emails to me haven't gotten through!
We have a lot of Little Golden Books we've collected over the years, including both "collectible" (i.e. very expensive to replace and Emily can't have them) and junky reading copies. But one of our favorites is a tatty copy of "A Year In The City", which is dear to our hearts because someone -- a parent or teacher -- went nuts and started crossing out everything they obviously didn't think should be read aloud to children! Mostly the edits are completely inexplicable to me. See the best ones here.
Who needs Devo 2.0 when you've already got the Mini-Pops?
The [adult swim] special (a.k.a. failed pilot) "Welcome To Eltingville" is up on You Tube now, for all those who never got a chance to see it. I'm posting it here because it can't be put on Evan's LJ...if you want to watch it, click below!
Warning absolutely no cuteness ahead. At all. Also, it's about 23 minutes, and kind of LOUD.
Continue reading "Welcome to Eltingville" »
I think we've dicovered one of the goofiest comics-related things ever...this video clip for Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot's 60s song, Comic Strip. Yup, that's Brigitte up there, in a brunette wig and superhero costume (which I find creepy, but Evan says is pretty accurate for French 60s comics most likely). Not to be missed!!
Forgot to say - while you're there, check out the playlist that it comes from, there's some really interesting clips of 60s French pop! I mainly know the Serge Gainsbourg stuff but there's lots more I've never heard of.
Mm, don't those french fries look good? But wait - that's actually dessert! These are deep fried custard sticks, disguised as fries by the new and trendy Mamido Burger stand in Toyko, which styles all its sweets and cakes as fast food. The signature sweet, the "Mamido Burger" is a sponge cake bun, with a chocolate cream "hamburger" and kiwi slice "pickles". Clever, clever!! And of course I want to eat there right now. [From Trends in Japan as seen on Treehugger.]
Timely news: the huge tribute to Ghibli studios going on at TMC this month to celebrate Hayao Miyazaki's 60th birthday starts tomorrow! Every Thursday, a set of films will be shown in both their official (Disney) English dub, and in the original (subtitled) versions. Of special note are the films that haven't been released here yet: My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart and Only Yesterday. (Totoro and Whisper of the Heart are scheduled for a March release, and my guess would be that Only Yesterday comes out in the fall.)
But even bigger news - if you are a Miyazaki/Ghibli fan you probably know all about the amazing Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka, Japan. But did you know that they worked on an exhibit that is currently touring children's museums here in the US? The exhibit Jump to Japan (now in St. Paul) includes lots of Totoro goodness, including a Catbus kids can play in, statues and more (and, unlike the official museum, photo-taking is allowed), along with loads of other neat non-Miyazaki stuff and hands-on activies. Kids (and parents) can try out a tea ceremony, go to a "manga store", try their hand at drawing manga and doing animation, and lots more. It's touring through mid-2008 (we are planning to take Emily after her 2nd birthday!) and is a must-see. It's part of "Go East", a whole group of exhibits exploring various Asian cultures, most of which unfortunately won't be coming to a museum we can get to. Check out the tour schedule for all 7 exhibits here (pdf file!)
Some extra Miyazaki goodness from flickr: totoro cupcakes! a totoro monument (?!) totoro+baby=unbearably cute. totoro bread (I couldn't eat it!)
Even though it's absolute junk food, I do love me some cup noodle sometimes (although what I really love is Mug, which is apparently now discontinued everywhere but Indonesia, from what I can find out!). Anyway, trying to find out more about the fate of my beloved Mug, I discovered this crazy flash Cupnoodle site! Go to "Play and download" for lots of ridiculous (and short) Cup Noodle videogames!
Looking for something watch for 10 or 15 minutes the other day, I discovered that new channels have been added to our lineup again. So far I've found Logo and Current, and who knows what else they've added. Anyway, I sat and watched Current, which I found pretty interesting and about 10 minutes into having it on a "gig" segment started about illustrator Tara McPherson. I didn't recognize her name, but I realized who she was when they showed a few of the covers she's done for DC Comics (although the segment doesn't mention that she works in comics at all, just that she's a poster artist) -- Evan is a big fan of her stuff and had shown me her work a while back. Her work is really fantastic and while I wish it had covered more of her process, the segment is really interesting and well-produced, and heck, how often are illustrators or cartoonists featured like that? Especially in a non-genre context. Very cool. Anyway, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to find out when something's airing next on the channel other than scrolling through the current schedule (they appear to be involved with Google but their site has no search function...huh?!) but if you happen to have gotten the channel, look for the Gigs segment called "Siren of Art". And check out the channel in general, I'm not too keen on the hosts but so far a lot of the content I've seen is really worthwhile.
Another quote I'm very fond of is this one:
"All you ever need is to be nice and friendly" -- Prince Fleaswallow
But he also said "I can sell a bottle cap like this" so, you know, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt.
A friend of mine has tickets to the Studio Ghibli Museum today, and I am soooooo jealous! I hope we get to go there someday (and take Emily!) But hey, you have fun without me, A!! ::sob sob::
I just have to comment on the cover of the book I'm reading right now:
Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve; I first found out about it in a British book about cover design, and I have to ask, what on earth were they thinking when they put the US edition out? The original cover (see left) is so nice, a great illustration in a classic children's book style -- and they replaced it with this boring, murky, pedestrian cover that from more than about 2 feet away looks like a whole lot of nothing. Honestly, I just don't get it. I guess some editor just had to put their "stamp" on it. Anyway, so far I'm enjoying the book enough that I will probably want to actually add a copy to our library (and get the sequels). So, amazon.uk, here I come!
Seriously. I was all excited to find out that Kodocha was being released here, since I never managed to get fansubs (that whole baby thing having kept me pretty busy). Evan was going to get it for me until we realized: It's $30 per 3 episode DVD. And there's 102 episodes. That's $1,020. Even at Amazon prices, or with discounts....that's a ton of money. But obviously they think there's a bunch of people out there that have it! When we realized how much these series are costing people we just couldn't believe it. I know DVDs aren't cheap but...the Emma Peel Avengers megaset cost us $99 for 51 episodes, for example. The recent Pee-Wee release? $80 at Amazon for, I think, 48 episodes. How are the anime companies getting $10 per episode? And do "the kids" really have that much allowance to spend? Holy wow.
The number one song this week with ALL members of the House of Fun:
"Eyeball Skeleton", by...Eyeball Skeleton.
FYI -- the CBS coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade absolutely blows. Stick with NBC, no matter how annoying it can get. CBS skipped tons of stuff -- they obviously didn't have the rights to show any performances, but they kept promising that (I guess in exchange) they would show "every float and and every balloon" which they most certainly did not. They even skipped one of the paid floats (Mr. Moneybags, a.k.a. Mr Monopoly), don't know how they got away with that! Anyway, our experiment with DVRing a different broadcast of the parade is over, over, over.
Checking for a lamp I thought I had seen, I stumbled across these adorable ghost nightlights! If they really are rechargable, I'm so going to have to get some (maybe blue and red...but then I'll feel bad for the green one...). I had my eyes on these Candeloos but I think the ghosts have them beat hands down! (Not to mention, there's a huge difference between $50 and $9.99!)
Is Target selling Ikea furniture? Or just ripping them off really, really well? Check out their new Black Leather Strap Chair and then take a look at POńNG. Or compare the Upholstered Club Chair with TULLSTA. Truly, my mind is boggled!
Evan and I have always talked about how cool it would be to get an Airstream trailer someday and fix it all up as either an office or a functioning trailer for traveling. But this....this is killing me. Behold! The official Sanrio Hello Kitty Airstream!! So...anyone want to spend $150,000 on a present for me? ^_^ thanks to sharp-eyed reader Loli for spotting this!
Floating around the blogosphere is this virtual exhibit of Kodomo no Kumi (Children's Land), a 1920s children's art magazine from Japan. Really worth a look -- some amazing design and illustration was in this mag. I haven't even been able to look through the whole site but I can already say, if someone did a coffee-table book reprinting this art I'd be so there!
Here we have one of the creepiest things I have seen in a long time: Pitman! Forget the game (which has somewhat adult content, btw), I couldn't get past the creepy, disturbing animated...pit...man.....oof.
We missed most of the convention coverage (that would be Democrats, not San Diego) although Evan's been listening to some of the speeches on the radio. We did get to hear most of Kerry's speech in the car and then watch the end of it. I'm sure everyone had something different (that they liked or didn't) jump out at them. For me it was the line (I'm sure I'm misquoting) "we need a president who believes in science!!" I'm so there in November, and I hope you all will be too.
Why pay $10 to see Spidey fight Doc Ock? When you can see it right here for free, the way it was meant to be seen...in legovision!
Gamer Alice is attending E3 and reporting on the meetings she's attending. Game industry and comic industry talk have always had scary parallels, but this panel discussion she covers on "women in games" really takes the cake. Please take special note of her comments at the end, which might as well be about comics. For example -- "I think that it's not a lack of games that will appeal to women that's the problem - there are LOTS - it's women even knowing they exist, and that they're fun, and worth the purchase." All her comments are good but if the parallels hold up, they're just falling deaf-as-nails ears. (I have to also say I agree with her statement "Make more survival horror games please, they're my favourite." 100%!!)
I wonder if there's any parallel in gaming to manga -- something that can just cut right through the industry's dopiness and get to women anyway.
(found through boing boing)
Went to look something up on amazon, and got directed to their new (don't know how new) category for comics and graphic novels. Broken down pretty well and including reference and how-to books. Very cool, and it'll certainly make it easier to tell people where to find stuff!!
In the Takadanobaba shopping district of Tokyo, you can now use Astroboy money. That's right, Astroboy money. I wish I had some Astroboy money!
you know, I log on, meaning to update, then suddenly I have to deal with new comment spam because I haven't updated the MT-Blacklist recently enough...and whatever was in my head is just ::poof:: gone!
Instead, I will simply give you a link to a photo of Mattel's latest "what were they thinking" moment. Yes, that's right, they've got the sole African-American male in the new My Scene line saying "All girls like chocolate!" Maybe not on the level of the famous Earring Magic Ken, but still.
Aha!! Just sitting here typing made me remember what I logged on to post. Check out the Fundrace 2004 neighbor search, if you haven't already. It's pretty interesting -- a little freaky to realize you could be on it, name, address and all, but seeing the breakdown of your area politically (at least going by people who actually give money) is fascinating. I was actually suprised to find our neighborhood predominantly funding Democrats!!
The upcoming Puffy cartoon got a good write-up. Ooh, why am I not working on this show?
Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese Ringu (and Ringu 2, Dark Water, JoyŻ-rei a.k.a. Ghost Actress, etc) has been hired to direct the American Ring 2. How freaky is that? If he can bring 1/10th of his knack for true creepiness to the film I'll certainly get in line.
This week's Variety wrote up (and liked a lot) Takashi Miike's latest, Zebraman, which is apparently being billed as "the Takashi Miike film for the whole family!!" Going by some of the stuff mentioned in the review, I don't think you should be rushing any kids off to see it, but we're looking forward to it a great deal. Then again, we really liked the Happiness of the Katakuri Family, and a lot of people don't, so what do we know?
My intended entry for today was totally derailed when I came across these sites today, courtesy of the Practical Hippie: the Bag of Plagues, and the 10 Plagues Adventure, "a fun activity to represent the ten plagues". As you might guess from the 10 plagues reference, these are Passover activities for the kiddies, centered around the 10 plagues. Holy wow. The bag is actually kind of cute in a gag-gift kind of way. But the activities, they just freak me out. I can't even decide which one weirds me out the most. But it might be this one:
10. Put red ribbon on the sides and top of door post of your house to avoid the death plague. When the neighbors ask what the ribbon is for you can witness to them!
Yes, the 10 Plagues fun is actually for Christian kids, who I think would enjoy them even less than Jewish kids who at least have an afikomen payoff to look forward to.
Toho is going to kill Godzilla. Really and truly kill him off. The last film in the series, Godzilla--Final Wars, will come out in December to celebrate the big G's 50th anniversary. 10 other famous monsters are slated to appear, in it, which is cool, but...you can't kill Godzilla! (Okay, they admit that you can never say die, but state that this is the last Godzilla film from this generation of staffers at Toho). Check out the sad news.
Among the new cartoons announced for Cartoon Network's 2004 lineup are an interesting-looking French show called Code LYOKO; the new Astroboy, starting March 8th; and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, a cartoon featuring Puffy, only one of the greatest bands ever. I am in total shock!
One of Japan's biggest pop music acts arrives in America, not with a massive stadium tour but as a cartoon. Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, set to debut in December, follows the adventures of two very cool, but very different, pop stars as they travel from gig to gig or just hang out in their hometown of Tokyo. Ami is the peppy, positive and resourceful one. Yumi is the hard-rocking, no-nonsense cynic with an absolutely infallible sense of cool. Together, they take the world by storm, despite occasional misjudgments from their well-meaning but tragically square manager, Kaz. Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi also will feature live-action segments starring the real life Puffy AmiYumi as well as the group's catchy J-pop hits.
I loooove Puffy. I have both sets of dolls (the Takara Jenny-style and the Rodney Alan Greenblatt vinyls), plus the Kubricks. All their albums, videos, etc. So how can there be a Puffy cartoon, and me with no work on it? There's no justice, I tell you.
Got my sanrio update email (if you don't get it yourself, it's called the "Hello Kitty's Sweet Happy News", which shoudl tell you something right there), and I think they've totally flipped at Sanrio. Never mind the bike, or the sars mask or the $300 handbag...they've gone and named a series "Hello Kitty Rollergirl". Um...did any of them actually see Boogie Nights? And then, the ultimate...a line called "Girly Pink". Huh?
Maybe I'm just being picky. I am still annoyed over the whole Baby Cinnamon thing, after all...don't worry Kitty, I still love you! I just love Gloomy Bear more. And Pucca. And Ugly Dolls (Ice Bat rules!).
If anyone stopped by today, I apologize for my lapse in judgement/troll-feeding episode. I know better and I plead guilty. It's been a tiring and stressful weekend (lost hours of work on the hellboy strip yesterday and I've just only really caught up) and I shouldn't have logged in even to post a quick update. Why someone feels the need to anonymously post snotty comments I don't know, but I should be capable of remembering to take the high road.
As for my question yesterday, it was at least partially answered by the new issue of Wired last night, when I read the response of a 16-year-old Japanese girl to a question about bishounen characters in a girl's romance videogame. I am paraphrasing but she said something like this: "They're not gay!! Their love is pure! They don't have SEX!" O-kaaay...I can't say I get the mindset, but it was an interesting window into how those characters are being perceived.
Weirdly, I cannot find a news story to link to, but I got a press release today that Sega is making Astroboy videogames; one is for the GBA, and the other is for the PS2. The PS2 game is being made as we speak by Team Sonic, so I'm pretty excited about that. Could it be? A licensed game that doesn't totally suck? Only time will tell.
In °Journalista! a couple days ago, there was a link to the news that Sprint PCS will be introducing more comic content for the new(er) Vision phones, that allows you to download a comic every day. I'd just like to say that I would not switch back to Sprint PCS if I could download free money every single day. I doubt any of you were really going to switch at the prospect of getting those old Hagar the Horribles, but...if you were? Don't.
In the same edition, Dirk says (commenting on Fake which I have not read), "like most bishounen manga I've read so far, it reads very much like a Japanese woman's idea of a gay male relationship." Now, this made me curious. Because so far as I know, bishounen pretty much always is a hetero Japanese female view of sexuality, as channeled through two men. There are a lot of trans-gendered and gay (or maybe, semi-gay) characters in the manga I've been seeing, but are there ever "realistically" portrayed gay characters? And, while I'm at it are there any (openly) gay creators in Japan? I feel like the stuff is probably there and we're just not seeing it. I've been thinking about this while working on SnowDrop, although since I'm working on next December's volume I really can't talk about what's going on in the book. So far the same-sex relationships seem like they're going down a somewhat realistic road, but it's really too early to tell. It also probably helps that they aren't the focus (the book has a heavy bishounen thing going on, or whatever they call the same thing in Korea, but the two leads are a hetero couple). Anyway. Just curious if anyone can shed a light on any of that...
In work news, the aforementioned SnowDrop is done, and I'm doing some catch-up work around the house while waiting to color Evan's Hellboy story and start the next volume. I may also be doing a weird little thing that no-one in this country will ever see but...well, I don't want to jinx it.
Finally, since I've been speaking of Japanese culture, there was an interesting article in the Washington Post a week or so ago, and the title pretty much says it all: The world bows to Japan's new top export: culture (although, really, most of the cool toys are coming from Hong Kong, and some of the best new character goods and quite a few of the comics are coming from Korea, so really we should all be talking about an invasion of pan-asian culture, don't you think?)
Happy year of the monkey! To celebrate, I watched several hours of the big gala on CCTV9 last night while I sorted through stuff. And check out these lion Qee bears designed for the Chinese New Year. Pretty amazing, huh? Available at Tower Records
, of all places.
And by the way, if you somehow have not read the Howard Dean sampling thread on Evan's journal, please do so.
I was going to list a couple bands we've been listening to and then I thought, hey, I can be all dopey and do another top 5 for the end of the year! So here you go, totally subjective and of-the-moment, and not in any particular order:
1. Electric 6. One of our absolute favorite bands of 2003, which we still are listening to regularly. I will always regret that we couldn't see them at the Bowery Ballroom (with Junior Senior opening!) because of our stupid schedule + life. I don't think there's a song I dislike on the album, and "Synthesizer" is for some reason my current fave.
2. Basement Jaxx, "Cish Cash". I can't buy that this is one of the best albums of the year (then again, what do I know? I hardly hear anything these days) but the single "Cish Cash" (feat. Siouxsie Sioux) is a must-have.
3. Fantastic Plastic Machine. This is the year I really got into FPM, whose works are too varied and numerous to get into. Funny, we were actually put off by the video for "Beautiful Days" and so I didn't check them out for a while. But now in heavy rotation.
4. Tricky. Tricky, Tricky, it's always Tricky. I don't think I'm capable of burning a CD without putting Tricky on it (keep in mind, these are CDs for an MP3 player, so there are 100-150 songs on each, I'm not completely insane)
5. Chemical Brothers. I've just been reminded by their singles collection that you can't go wrong with these guys. And the video for "Hey Boy Hey Girl" remains one of my all-time favorites.
Funny, I thought I'd never think of 5...and now I can't stop thinking. Special mentions for 2003 will have to go to Groove Armada (does "Superstylin'" ever get old?), OutKast, Loudbomb, and to all the guys and gals over at get your bootleg on for all the amazing/silly/fun/impressive work that they do. And I could name 100s more now that I'm thinking about it...but it's time to stop.
I mean, I love monkeys and all but...handing your baby over to Gorillas?
I just don't think I can approve of that one...
Okay, most of you have probably seen this already. But if you haven't do yourself a favor and head on over to quislibet's latin rendering of a famous 80s song
...I thought Evan was going to spit up when I showed it to him.
Okay, in a comment below, SLG monkey Joe linked to this Junior Senior video
, which is actually really great. Cartoony and videogamey and very cute. The music might not be for everyone but it's fun in that Daft Punk disco-y sort of way. Go! Watch!
So, here in NYC we have these Metro channels on the cable systems, for NYC-specific programming, and one of them is showing the 2004 collections for 52 days (!) straight. If I'm downstairs going through mail or reading the paper or something, I've been putting it on as my background noise, and catching some of it now and then. (Okay, boring, but I'm just letting you know what on earth I'm talking about here!) So last night, I have it on while I wait for Evan to come downstairs for dinner, and this one show starts and the whole collection is based on Wonder Woman (the Linda Carter incarnation). I mean, really
based on WW. The models are wearing red boots with white stripes and big gold cuffs. The clothes are mostly red, white and blue, with things like blue dresses with white stars in the skirt. There are even models in swimsuits that look like badly designed alternate WW costumes (one outfit looked just like a swimsuit version of the red Wonder Girl jumpsuit). They played the theme from the TV show. And, they had fabric printed with WW in a ton of the outfits. The whole thing was really surreal and...weird...(and probably infringing). Once again proving that these characters have an iconic life that goes so far beyond the comics. (I tried to find images online from the collection, Liz Collins Spring 2004, but no dice). I don't know what that all means, but it was weird enough that I felt I had to share.
In other news, I scored big yesterday, we stopped by the salvation army and someone had just dumped a collection of cookbooks! I found some amazing vintage books, and there were tons more that I left behind. And there were some amazing 50s women's eyeglass frames, I picked up a mother-of-pearl pair that hopefully I can get good lenses put into eventually. It's so rare that any of our local thrift shops have anything I'd bring into my house.
update: well, I'll be damned. Literally hours ago, no shots of the Liz Collins WW stuff, but now it's all up! Check the whole line out here; or see top examples here, here and here. (If you check out all the photos, dig how the show started off with the "Diana Prince" outfits…that last girl undid her hair, tossed her glasses and spun around, tossing off her outfit to reveal one of the WW-like swimsuits!)
Just checking in to say "hi" and let you all know that as usual we are hard at work, right now we're just attempting to get caught up enough to actually take our anniversary off (something we didn't do last year!). I'm finishing up volume one of my new Tokyopop book, not manga but manhwa
(spelling varies depending on who you talk to, so don't pick on me if you spell it manwha
or however). It's a series called Snow Drop
, by Choi Kyung-Ah. Very shoujo, think a little Peach Girl
plus a little Paradise Kiss
, with, unsurprisingly, quite a bit of I.N.V.U.
. So far I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I'll be starting a second book for them soon, but until the acquisition is announced I can't talk about it.
In other news…Boom Selection is back!! It was surprising enough when I actually got the CD set from the dr. a while back after waiting well over a year (although actually, it'd already been replaced by one of his confederates), and now this! Boom Selection was always the place to go to find out which of the new mashups were quality, and while this return is probably only temporary, I'm glad to see it up and running again. With a nice healthy selection of the dr's recommendations to boot (no pun intended, thank you). Do yourself a favor and swing by before he vanishes again.
I'm so excited, the new Captain Scarlet series (Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
) is in production! Not much info is out on it yet, but I saw some promo stuff for it a while back that looked very faithful to the original. Captain Scarlet is by far my favorite Anderson series, and one of my favorite shows of all time, probably (we have very few DVDs of TV shows: The Prisoner
, the Emma Peel Avengers
and my Captain Scarlet
box set. I heart Costco!)
In comics news, Variety this week had what was probably the most accurate San Diego report, portraying it as the most important sci-fi/genre convention and place for studios to market their films to fans. About the only mention of comics was when they said Mike Mignola was "trotted out" to promote Hellboy since they had no stars there. (Do you think he really "trotted"?) They did do a big web special on comics and animation which is pretty interesting reading. (Sorry, can't link to their stories, unfortunately, their site is not free. In fact, it's frighteningly expensive. Thank goodness for free magazine offers!)
One of my favorite tidbits is this quote about Marvel: "Marvel decided to retrain its storytellers from their traditional binary good guy-bad guy storylines. Now they will use a more Japanese sensibility, with themes of self-sacrifice for the greater group's good." I'm not sure which sentence I find funniest. Another good one: " 'I don't think we're the most skilled businessmen in terms of marketing,' says Todd McFarlane". No, really? I also learned that there are "600 superstores" in the direct market which is where almost all non-superhero books are sold. And in the "voice of reason" department, in one of the side articles about licensing big characters to Hollywood (and how it's not really working so well) Mike Richardson said, "If the material is good, it doesn't matter where it comes from." Hear, hear!
Some of the links I've been bookmarking to pass along here…
The Hulk's Monster Willy—see just what is under those purple shorts!
In Japan, hats are coming back—good news for me if this translates to the US, as I'm under doctor's orders to wear hats anytime I spend a good length of time outdoors. I have yet to actually buy any hats, however, because for the most part they all stink.
Seasonal bento designs, with complete instructions. Babelfish translations are not too shabby!! (see example, if the link keeps working). These all feature the company's product, which I can only guess is something along the lines of vienna sausages.
And also from Japan, my favorite quote from a politician this month—after saying that the parents of the "Nagasaki monster" (a 12-year-old who assualted and murdered a 4-year-old early this month) should be beheaded and dragged through the streets, he excused himself by saying, "I merely talked in parables because I like Toei Co. movies," apparently meaning their samurai dramas.
In comics news, a friend turned me on to this very cool site where you can find all sorts of magazine articles archived online, and they have last month's Better Homes and Gardens' comic article. I don't actually remember if it was all that good, but I doubt most of you read BH&G so I thought I'd point it out. (Oh, yeah, just skimmed it, and the point of the article was very positive. Unfortunately, most of the recommendations and so on totally ignore what kids actually seem to like these days. Some of the recommended books are actually very interesting, but once again, the industry wants to pretend that manga doesn't exist…do they think it's just going to go away if they keep ignoring it?) And there's a million articles on comics I haven't even begun to look through. (Okay, 126025.) Most fascinating are the weird articles you can turn up in business magazines on various companies' funding, results, and so on. I was hoping I could find this week's Variety article on DC vs Marvel in Hollywood, but it's not up yet. It's pretty fascinating, in a sort of "oh, jeez, why do comics always come off so dopey" way.
One final note, for those of you that have been asking; I am about to start one new book at Tokyopop and will be doing another, as soon as they announce they've got the properties I'll let you all know the details. I think the first one will be coming out by the end of this year.
P.S. Here's what I hate: finding glaring typos hours and hours after publishing an entry. Grrrr.
Check out these separated-at-birth images here! The one on the left is part of the design on the Alexander Girard "Madonna" pillow
, designed in the 1960s by acclaimed artist/designer Girard
(available today in reproduction form). On the right we have a t-shirt worn by the newest Jade doll
from the Bratz line. Evan got me this Jade last week as a present (for never getting to leave the house because all we've been doing is work!) and I looked at her shirt for a couple days, thinking "I'm sure I've seen that somewhere," before my memory finally sparked enough for me to go look up the original design and figure out why I thought I knew it! Personally, I think it makes for a cuter shirt, and I think it's really funny that little girls everywhere are playing with a doll that references some serious design work. (She also wears
a blue crinoline, blue lace-up boots, and sports a bowling bag. Very 80s-via-21st century, no?)
The second funny thing related to this Jade doll—when I went to find the amazon listing to link to it, I discovered for the first time what should have been obvious: little kids writing amazon reviews of toys!! The reviews of this Jade absolutely killed me. Especially the girl that complains about her and then says "She looks like a punk, anyway." And the girl who didn't like her, but warmed up to her and now has "this Jade and 15 other bratz dolls, the salon and spa, hair studio, the beauty bed, the lounge, a couch, the car and a table" and then advises you: "So take my advice and buy this toy! you will be happy!" I am happy.
A few weeks ago we picked up some cheap old comics, and among my selections was the September 1962 issue of Nurse Betsy Crane
, which I thought would be interesting—I've gotten romance comics before, but never a classic nurse comic. And the comic itself was about as entertaining as I expected. What I didn't expect was the essay in the center of the book. Now, girls' comics of the era often have little text pieces on history, society, or maybe "things you can do for fun". And true, the text pieces in Charlton comics are usually extra-dumb. But I've never seen anything like the essay "Weep No More" in a comic, for girls or not! Now, from the title and quote, perhaps you have an inkling of what this little instructional guide is about. If you don't, here's the topic: "how to be a widow and what to do about it". Yes, a guide for your impending widowhood, all you young ladies out there. And since they do have a point there—this part of a young girl's education is in fact, often neglected—I bring you the salient points. (And anything in quotes is, really, a quote. Could I make those things up?)
Why you should think about this: Because the happy young bride never gives any thought to the possibility of her husband's death until it's too late. "It may come through an accident. A skidding car on a rainy day goes through a rail. Or a customary checkup by the family doctor gives shocking news. And so a young bride of not more than one year finds herself wearing black." And it's true, she undoubtably doesn't. So maybe it is a good idea to put this guide into a girls' comic, because this is the sort of thing girls of, oh, 12-14 really should be thinking about.
Here are the important things you will need to know:
First: The most important thing to keep in mind, apparently, is that "the man you loved so much is dead. Nothing can bring him back." (A nice and tactful way to approach the subject, don't you think?) "You must accept the fact that he is no longer here and make plans for a new life."
Second: Basically, it wasn't your fault.
Third: All your husband's stuff? Get rid of it, no matter what anyone says, because they are "the constant reminder of his existence, and he no longer exists." Just in case you forgot about the part where he died already.
Fourth: Whatever he left you wasn't enough. Go get a job. Maybe now you should go to college. And, "if you have sufficient funds and mental ability it might not be a bad idea to prepare for a profession." If you don't, they suggest learning to type.
Fifth: Consider your current friendships. "Act cheerful and pleasant" all the time if you want to keep any friends. But realize that you will apparently lose all friendships based on your husband's work, hobbies or associations, and all your married friends as well, because everyone knows that married women hate and fear divorcées.
Sixth: Don't let yourself be taken. "You will have to be alert and constantly on guard for a type of male known as THE WIDOW'S WOLF." This guy is basically looking for cheap sex and your savings account. Don't make false moves that will encourage these kind of men!
Seventh: Don't try to act like a teenager again, just because you're single. "The woman of 25 is mature, with different and outlooks than the girl of eighteen she was when she got married." Although, the woman of 25 has been married seven years instead of the single year they say they're addressing, so presumably she doesn't actually need this stupid guide. They also suggest that you "accept your matured self and study it carefully." What exactly that means I'm not entirely sure.
Eighth: Yes, you guessed it! "Your world of men has not ended!" Whew! Thank goodness for that, right? You can go out again, and even get married! But keep an open mind. "Your first husband was a salesman. The second might be a teacher, a taxi driver, or even a bricklayer." Keep shootin' high, girls!
And finally: Please remember that "you aren't the teen-ager any longer. You're a little wiser and perhaps bit sadder but love can come a second time." Keep in mind that "once again you have to be attractive, interesting, and appealing to a single man." But most importantly, believe that you are "morally entitled to your happiness as a married woman." And..."weep no more"!
More quick bits, then later, the article Evan promised on my behalf…
First, you may or may not have heard about the Pana Wave Laboratory, the latest wacko cult to wander around Japan. I find them kind of funny, but only because they're not anywhere near me. Anyway, they've got a lot of wacky schtick going on, but the main points are that the world is supposed to endany day now (I think it was originally tomorrow, the 15th, but now it's "next week sometime"), and if they're allowed to capture Tama-chan the seal, the end of the world will be averted. And they wear special outfits, don't bathe, and only eat ramen. (Sounds like some comics fans, doesn't it?) Anyway, today I came across the best article about them yet, "Japanese Cult Vows to Save a Seal and the World".
The big videogame expo, E3 is going on, and one of the most interesting bits of news for me to come out of it that Sony is launching a handheld. Doesn't look like it'll be compatible with your old PS games though, so I think I'll keep saving pennies for the GBSPA.
You've probably heard of "...she's a flight risk." It's one of the latest hip, soon-to-be-a-book/movie/etc type websites, but for a change it's actually interesting to read. (And no, I personally don't believe a word of it, but hey, truth is stranger than fiction, so who knows?)
And finally—Have you seen the new 20-dollar-bill yet? It's actually uglier, somehow. I thought they were thinking of making our money more attractive, more like what opther countries have. But this just looks like someone spilled bleach on a $20.
Here's my favorite quote of 2003:
"I hate smoking and drinking and so why would I offer it to apes?"
— Abe Karajerjian, biological anthropologist
this is from a story on the life and health on Cheeta
, the chimp from the Tarzan series. And I mean the original Cheeta, who is 71 and still going strong! I had no idea he was still alive. But I also thought his name was spelled C-H-E-E-T-A-H, so what do I know?
Last night we were looking for something to watch at 1am, and because our cable system plays your last-viewed channel in the corner of the listings, we always put it on something innocuous like a music channel. I set it to MTV2, which was showing 120 Minutes, but before I popped the guide on, we noticed that Matt Pinfield was sitting there. And, "hey, that guy, it's whatshisname who was the old host, Dave Kendall". We decided to watch and see what on earth they were doing on the show, and it turned out it was the very last broadcast of 120 Minutes ever. Now, it's not like we've actually gone out of our way to watch the show in a good 5-6 years, probably, but it was still weirdly sad to see it go. Sort of like when you find out some actress you like in old movies has just died, and you didn't even know they were still alive. We ended up watching the whole 2 hours of "classic" 120 Minutes videos (apparently all picked by Matt Pinfield and Dave Kendall), most of which we hadn't seen in ages. The final video of 120 Minutes was Siouxsie & the Banshees, "Kiss Them For Me". And then that was it.
At least that's what it feels like. Regulars over at Evan's journal know that things have been even crazier than usual for us lately. Most of it seems very positive, we've been getting some minor but interesting jobs almost constantly. So we're feeling pretty upbeat. Just tired!!
And of course I'm actually stealing this time, since I'm supposed to be working on the new Dork trade. But I just wanted to pop in and say hey...
Here's a few links I've bookmarked and meant to write about:
a short but neat article on cosplay in Japan.
Finally, the birth-of-Astro article I was looking for, don't know why it took me so long to come across it.
Dirk Deppey covered the creepy sexualization of the Thundercats in the new DC comics; apparently he didn't see (if I had a copy I'd pass it along to him) the promo poster for the Thundercats/Battle of the Planets crossover book, which is, how shall I put this, a pretty clear-cut depiction of a sex act between Lion-O and the leader of the BoP team. And I mean, clear-cut. Keep an eye out for it, you'll be amazed.
via Megan Morrone's blog comes this really fantastic baby/kid clothes site. Know someone with a baby? Shop here! The punk pants absolutely slay me, and I've got to convince someone I know with a kid that they're a great idea!
Anyway, got to stop being a time thief. More soon!
I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked! The Eloise at the Plaza
movie is going to be on in less than 24 hours (on ABC, 7 pm EST) and I was totally clueless. Thanks to my dad who spotted it and called with the 411. I'm apprehensive about it, but I'll probably have to watch it anyway, in the hopes that it's actually good. More later. Over and out.
Here's some news to brighten your day: Great Sasuke wins election
. Yes, masked wrestler Great Sasuke became an assemblyman under his ring name and wearing his mask
, and promises to keep the mask on in his political life as well.
First, here's a great Happy Birthday Astroboy
Second, I wasn't feeling great last night, so I knocked off early and vegged on the couch. Flipping through the Showtime On Demand listings (they have 5-10 episodes of each of their series) I noticed a plot listing for Queer as Folk about a comic book. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "I have never heard anyone mention a comic book episode of this show." So I looked at several episode listings and then skimmed through a whole episode and realized, there's a major comic-related storyline and one of the characters is a comic book retailer. And…I have never heard word one about this. Knowing that I'm often out of the loop on comic industry scuttlebutt, I asked Evan when he got home and he'd never heard anyone mention it either. So, a major cable series has a comic book retailing main character who is perfectly normal and not cliched fanboy loser, and apparently no-one cares? wtf? Did I miss the big discussion about this somewhere?
Finally, following up a little on the Tokyopop discussion we've all been having in the comments, I just have to say I am really sick of the constant bashing of them as if they were the "new Marvel" and so on and so forth. Everyone seems to forget that whatever the business mentality of each company may be, the content of their publications is entirely different. All the manga I am reading is creator-controlled, personal work. Yes, the pop culture spinoff stuff like Yu-Gi-Oh gets a lot of press, but a lot of the stuff coming out is not like that. And yes, the publishers do usually co-own the manga they publish and assuredly have editorial input. So? The best fiction writers in the world get editorial input, and quite frankly, I think writers in any media who don't get any editorial input usually suffer for it. Tokyopop isn't cleaning everyone's clocks because their comics are Japanese, or because they've got muscle, they're doing it because no-one else got anything remotely like Love Hina onto shelves. Books like that can't even happen here. Although they should.
Anyway! Enough ranting. Time to get back to work. If all goes well in the next week or so, I should be able to announce a pretty interesting new job soon. Fingers crossed!
quick note, added @ 4:30pm: I've just noticed that the RioVolt MP3 player I bought last weekend is on sale again, until midnight tonight!
my favorite April 1st headline by far: Astro Boy to help rebuild Iraq
This über-Trekkie apartment for sale is just…so wrong. I'm speechless. See for yourself at the photo gallery
, and if you love it, hey, go and respond to the for sale listing
on ebay. It's only $2 million, in England, and totally
insane. And people tell you not to even paint in wild colors if you want to sell. Actually, I'm sure no-one would bother to pursue this (then again, who knows?), but wouldn't selling an apartment that's basically a gigantic fan-made collectible be a serious bootlegging issue? I'm guessing trademark violation, although I'm not totally sure.
Thanks to everyone for the ideas, the salsa ended up a great success (as was the luau). I tried to write down what I was putting into it, but I won't know if I really succeeded until I try and repeat it. If I can repeat it (I hate when I can't!) I will post it here eventually.
That light at the end of the tunnel really is getting closer. I may be caught up enough in another day to finally get to some desperately needed housework.
Here is a local story that totally cracked me up: Raccoon comes to bed. I think I'd definitely freak out if this happened to me too, but afterwards I would think it was kind of cute.
Here is the new Hello Kitty cooking line, yes, real pots and pans and everything. I don't need them, and they wouldn't even go with my kitchen…but still, it's all so cute!
And finally, on a more serious note, I found this article on the new "wireless society" in Japan incredibly interesting (and not dry and academic at all). Obviously things are different there, not only do the Japanese have a more polite culture, but their wireless phone service totally kicks what we can get. But even so, I've seen some of this very same behavior emerging among my own friends and family over the past few years. Lots of interesting links as well.
Oh well, back to work for me!
Actually picked up 3 books this week: Crayon Shin-Chan
vol 3, still holding my interest, although there was too much of Dad in this volume (as in when Shin-Chan shows off his "elephant", Dad shows him the "great mammoth"); Astro Boy
vol 12, which just gets more demented and violent with every volume; and Iron Wok Jan
vol 3, which is really holding up, although if Jan doesn't show some redeeming qualities soon I don't know how much more I can take. But I am enjoying finally having a cooking manga—and this volume includes recipes, with a Chinese medicine emphasis to them! I tell you, I would so love to do a cooking comic, if I thought it would sell more than 2 copies.
Also on the manga tip, found a really interesting interview with female creator Rui Hashimoto, who does biographical manga I doubt we'll be seeing here any decade soon. Issues of gender in the manga world are touched on, as well as the current apparently gloomy state of the industry in Japan. (PS, the interview is brief, and I'm interested in her work, but I cannot find anything in english on her other than this very interview. If anyone comes across anything, please let me know!)
What can I say that everyone isn't already saying? Mr. Rogers was a second father to almost every North American under about 40, and in some cases he was the only substitute for a father some kids ever had. We were talking just last week about how hard it would be on people when someday he passed away, and we were right, it's as upsetting as we thought it would be, apparently to the whole country. But instead of reading any more people's thoughts on his death, I'd like it if everyone went and celebrated his life instead, by visiting his own non-profit company, Family Communications,
where you can read tons of info, and even buy excellently made toys and puppets (yes, puppets!) of the Neighborhood characters; or PBS' own Mr. Roger's site
, which has a fantastic gallery of moments from Fred Roger's life, including video clips.
And did you know that there's a touring children's museum exhibit? Or a life-size Neighborhood? (We'd hoped to go there on our way to or from Pittsburgh if we had kept going to the con there.)
Mr. Rogers, may you stay on television forever.
So it seems there's a bit of a mystery about the new, semi-official Automat book
(co-written by a Hardart). To backtrack a little, Evan and I both love the idea of the Automat. He grew up here in NYC, of course, where they had Automats up until about 1990. I only saw an automat once, on a trip to Philadelphia when I was 4 or 5. (Well, maybe more than once that trip, I really don't remember.) And we've been talking about the Automat because of the big exhibit
that's going on. Which is why we got the aforementioned book about the Automat. Anyway—
We've also been trying to find a really good baked macaroni and cheese recipe. We tried Alton Brown's recipe but it was just a little too heavy and rich. So I thought, hey, how about the Automat's recipe from the new book? Evan ought to like that! And in fact, it's near-perfect. Quick, simple, and not too rich. But, when I went online to see if anyone had the recipe available so I could post it for you all, I discovered this Automat mystery…which is that the recipes in the book are not, in fact, authentic Automat recipes. What liars!! Ooh! The giveaway? The Automat's baked Mac 'n' Cheese famously had tomatoes in it.
Several sites have what are supposedly authentic versions, but no-one knows for sure (here's the best site, click on "recipies" which they really should fix: the Automat.com). Some discussion of the topic can be found at The Food Timeline. And several people claim that there was an official recipe booklet published by Horn & Hardart, possibly in the 1960s. But no-one seems to have actually gotten their hands on a copy. So the mystery seems unsolvable…unless this recipe book ever shows up, or even better, an actual industrial cookbook from the Horn & Hardart central cooking location. Until then, no-one will ever be sure which recipes are the "real" ones. As far as the book goes, while it certainly claims to have authentic Automat recipes, the museum's site notes that they are "Hardart family recipes" which isn't exactly the same thing.
But, in any case, the recipe from the book is excellent, authentic or not. I imagine they'll be pulling that recipe as soon as the show is over, so grab it now if you're interested. Normally I'm a big fan of Alton's Brown's recipes, but this time he got his clock cleaned by the Hardarts.
After I finished up for the night (making my self-imposed work goal, yay) I decided to kill a little time weeding out my bookmarks. And I discovered that mari-chan
, a Japanese artist (who's responsible for the icon set sampled at left, which happens to be the set every icon on my desktop is drawn from no matter what wallpaper I'm using) is going to be doing a stationery set
for the Dark Horse Comics series of artist-designed stationery! Ooh, I cannot wait. Of course, actually getting around to using it will be a different matter. I still haven't even unsealed the last Shag set I got…oh well. Most of the other sets are pretty cool as well. Although it would be nice if they'd give a few more comic artists the chance to do illustrations.
A link I hadn't got around to even checking yet is for the Ground Force contest. If you've never seen it, Ground Force is sort of the gardening version of BBC's Changing Rooms, the show that Trading Spaces is a remake of. It's on BBC-America daily, and is probably our favorite gardening show. (Actually, it's the only gardening show we ever watch.) Anyway. They're going to do a season in the US, and you can enter to win a slot on the show (and have them redo your garden). Our yard is actually too small to even enter (only 17' wide) so I'm passing it on to all of you.
Over and out.
So, I am now officially banning the phrases "well, things can only get better" and "well, it can't get any worse" from my life forever, because apparently saying them is nothing but a big ol' jinx
! I am very tempted though, after having a really good workday yesterday and even though I fell horribly behind over the last few weeks, it looks like I'll be making my next deadline (Kodocha #7
, on Monday) with plenty of room to spare. I was pretty pepped up to see that volume 6 was #29 on the top 50 list
for February comic shop orders, and was (I think, I don't know all those titles) the #4 manga GN that month. In fact, every volume of Kodocha
has been in the top 50—I had no idea. I've stayed pretty far away from listings and reviews and so on for the most part (manga fans can be really nasty and I just didn't need to hear it—although one of my editors has forwarded some really nice mentions to me, which is totally cool of her). Hopefully, it's done well enough that they'll ask me to do another book after it's over. We'll see.
Here's something that boggled my mind today: U.S. Patent #06368227. Which is a patent on…swinging sideways on a swing. And you thought granting patents on one-click ordering, or using frames in a website was insane? Paragraph 65 on page 5 (which continues onto page 6) leads me to believe the "inventor" is joking, but what crackhead granted this patent? I swear, sometimes I understand why people go crazy and stop paying taxes. Some further searching revealed the terrifying "Christ Within Doll"; this interesting comic book videogame, patented by Sega but never attempted as far as I remember; a comic bag, including the best Superman comic cover I've ever seen…and then of course I realized I wasn't working, so I stopped looking. But I'll be back…(bored? don't want to work? search for yourself, here.)
for the most part, anyway…
thanks again to everyone who sent (or posted) nice notes, I am feeling much better if not 100%, and am back to work (gotta pay off this root canal now!) today. Will catch up on questions and comments soon!!
I was going to post a big catch-up today, but after turning on the radio while we ate breakfast and finding out about the shuttle Columbia I'm just not in the mood, I'm a big space-related-stuff lover and it's just too sad…it was very confusing, they kept talking about Challenger and we couldn't figure out what was going on for about 5 minutes, we kept saying to each other "What's going on? Are they talking about Challenger? Did something new happen? Is this a broadcast from the 80s being repeated?" But unfortunately no. I always fear for the space program whenever anything like this happens, hopefully, no-one will be stupid.
To leave you on a lighter note, the track I'm currently listening to ("Craig Dave's Flava") is a super-fun bouncy 70s-ish mash-up/bootleg/bit-o-bastard-pop from Go Home Productions, it's cheering me up and it might cheer you up too. (A big plus is that unlike most bastard pop, I don't know the source material at all.) It won't be available forever, so if you're interested, get it now.
I've been busy (setting up the new computer system) and my brain is full of things I keep meaning to mention, so here's a go at it:
NPR covered Shonen Jump and wrote a little about manga in the US, audio of the report is included on the page.
On manga, yesterday °Journalista! covered some discussion of digest format and manga and how they're affecting comics. Dirk is so right on what's really going on there. But I just have to refute a comment made by, hang on, Steven Grant, who says the success of Tokyopop and Viz doesn't help American creators. Because, if you'll look in the new issue of Previews, Tokyopop has begun publishing work by American creators, and it may be an experiment, but they are doing it. There are a lot of American creators who can very easily pick up manga fans eventually (Chynna Clugston, for one), in my opinion. Just because manga readers will never want to read the latest revamp of Superman doesn't mean it can't have the potential for good for US writers and artists too.
Added later that day: And, dopey me, as Evan pointed out, several US creators, including Jamie Rich and myself, are already employed by Tokyopop, albeit in a minor way. (And I know people who have talked to Viz about work, although I don't know anything about who may or may not be working for them.)
Because of an article I read in Business 2.0, I've become fascinated with the whole idea of category management and what it could mean to comics and to books in general. (In super-brief: all books are assigned to categories, like "Food and Cooking" and a "captain" of that category is chosen from the publishers of that category; the captain is then responsible for the research that decides what books get carried in that category. Scary, no?) The publisher's viewpoint is pretty negative. Ralph Nader's viewpoint is (go figure) decidedly negative. But interestingly, writer George Loper's viewpoint is wary but slightly positive. Whatever your viewpoint, if you read or write material that is sold in bookstores, this will affect you sooner or later. Borders will eventually apply this system to their entire inventory, and you can bet that since it apparently is working for them really well, that everyone will be doing it sooner or later. My questions (this may not make complete sense to you if you haven't read any of the articles): will graphic novels be their own category, or get lumped into a category headed by some publisher who couldn't care less? If they are their own category, will they be a "destination" (i.e. important) category, or dismissed as a "fill-in"? If they are a category, who on earth will be offered the captaincy? If certain publishers who are already known for filling up rackspace with garbage to shut out other publishers got chosen, we'd all be doomed…although I think chances are good it would be offered to a manga publisher. The possible goodside to this is that market research into what is actually selling, and what people are really coming in for, could really help keep graphic novels in the stores, rather than going through the whole flameout everyone's expecting (assuming market research doesn't tell them to kick all graphic novels to the crub). And really, you know they'll lump superheros together—will I cry when they say only 12 superhero "novels" can be in each store? I'm thinking…no.
On a lighter note, my friend Paul sent me this site the other day—it's the C.Y.B.O.R.G.E.R. from Brunching Shuttlecocks. I am, yes, "S.A.R.A.H.: Synthetic Artificial Repair and Assassination Humanoid".
He also has finally started this site, The Impending Singularity, which talks about, oh, little things, like the inevitable downfall of all systems and the world we live in. Is he kidding? Who knows! Go read the evidence for yourself, and submit your own proof (for or against)!
Last weekend I had opportunity to see the new Eloise book, over at Evan's sister's house. She got it for Evan's niece, and she handed it to me and said (in front of the niece) "take a look at this and tell me if you agree…I think this S-U-C-K-S." I took a look, and all I could say was "rawther…". You just can't fake Kay Thompson, is all I'm sayin'. And you know, it's more proof that: A. When someone doesn't want a work of theirs published, maybe their wishes should be respected; and B. since no-one respects your wishes after you die when there's money to be made, if you don't want something published you better just burn it right now.
Oh, and we finally saw Far From Heaven. What a fabulous movie. If you haven't seen it yet, please go and see it while it's still in theaters—I'm sure it'll look great on DVD (and I'm sure I'll own it) but that over-the-top technicolor lushness will just not look the same in your living room no matter what.
Whew! Okay, my brain's not entirely emptied out, but that's much better!!
I've actually got some comic-y links today, but first, I must vent: on the way home from errands, we found this little shepherd-mix puppy, freezing in the light sleet/slush/rain that was, well, more misting than falling. He was shaking, but he had about 5 tags on him so we figured he was definitely a puppy someone wanted to find. We called the 1-800 tag that turned out to be the AKC hotline for dogs that are either tattooed or microchipped, and they found his listing and said they'd have the owner call us right away. A few minutes later, the phone rings, and this woman…she refused to give me her name or address, but insisted that we take the puppy to exactly where we found him, let him go and that "he would find his way home". I tried to argue with her but she insisted, and since I didn't want to get in a fight with someone over their dog, we did what she wanted. I did call the AKC number back to tell them what happened, just in case anything weird happened and so in the future they'll know that this woman did this. They thought it was just as disturbing and strange as I did. A microchip and 5 tags, but you don't want the puppy brought to you? What kind of person could do that? Then again, we'd just been at the animal rescue center at our Petsmart, where they'd just brought in a cat that was abandoned by her owner after eight
Okay, deep breath, comics. First, a comic I found last week and really enjoyed: Iron Wok Jan. It's an honest-to-goodness cooking manga! I've always wanted to see what one was like, and it didn't disappoint. Definitely worth checking out (and you can see a free preview on their website—and check out our beloved Crayon Shin-Chan while you're there)!
Also comic-related: in the new Red Herring, Lawrence Lessig wrote about an article on manga and doujinshi (the manga equivalent of fan fiction) in Japan from the Rutgers Law Review; and I tracked the original paper down, by Salil Mehra. It's a really fascinating read, well worth spending a little time on. Basically, it's a study of why doujinshi are tolerated by the publishers for the positive effects they have on the industry, even though they violate Japanese copyright law. But I'll let you read the summary and check it out for yourself. As an extra, the footnotes are both copious and actually quite funny. (Note: I for some reason couldn't download the pdf file, but I used the email link and sent it to myself with no problem.)
I came across this amazing resource over the weekend; it's the Los Angeles Public Library's Menu Collection Index
, which you can search through, or simply browse (by searching with wild cards). As someone who is interested in food, restaurant history, vintage ephemera and
design, there couldn't be a collection more interesting to me. I found it looking up the NY Public Library's similar collection, which is on display
until March (we heard about it NPR and I've been meaning to get the details for ages). Coincidentally, the NY menus are being exhibited just down the hall from the Charles Addams gallery, so we'll definitely be making a trip over there!!
Another interesting page I found doing research this weekend (although I'm not allowed to say what for) is the Poisons & Antidotes section from a 1942 medical dictionary. My favorite symptom has got to be the "staring eyes" you can get from aconite poisoning.
And by the way, Happy New Year to all!
If you are interested in comics and you don't already read Dirk Deppey's °Journalista!
, you should be. It's really one of those "If you read only one—" type deals. Today he links to a great article in The Boston Phoenix
about the state of comics today and the irrelevance of the new Rawhide Kid
. And his coverage of Bill Mauldin's situation is a real heartbreaker! Go read!!
So, apparently, Japan has their very own Ellen Fleiss
now, Kikuchi Momoko
, who has been translated for us by Mac Observer
. Not as stoned, but just as goofy. Of course, the big question for me about Ellen wasn't "is it drugs or cough syrup?", it was "did she really write that letter to apple?" Which, of course, she did not. Imagine, getting into a ad campaign because you go to school with the director's son! And I thought you could believe everything you see on tv!!
Okay, enough kidding. I also want to give all of you who run your own sites a heads-up, my host company, dzones, is running this insane special til the end of the month—$10 per month for 300MB storage and 10GB transfer, among other things. Your mileage with them may vary, but I've had a very good experience with them. (Feel free [or not] to mention jinjur.com if you sign up, it'd make me look good if they thought I actually brought them business since I'm always bugging them about something.)
We haven't had a full-size tree since we moved two years ago. For about 6-7 years we had a nice big, artificial white tree which I loved. But after we moved we had a little cat destruction and…no more tree. Right now I've got two tabletop trees (one pink, one silver) but I was hoping to get a full-size again this year, so I've been looking around. Because our house is decorated in a sort of—cartoony interpretation of mid-century modern is probably the best way to describe it—a couple of people have suggested the classic aluminum tree to go with the 50s-ish look. Now, while I think they're pretty, I'm not a big fan of any tree without lights. But I thought I'd look at a few
. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, contrary to popular opinion (and most eBay sellers), the aluminum tree is a 1960s
icon, and didn't even exist in the 1950s! There's a great history of the tree at Bill's Antique Christmas Light Site
, which even includes a copy of the patent, and as it turns out, the very first Evergleam aluminum tree went on sale in December of 1959. So, you learn something new every day. A little research through my own 50s magazine collection shows that for the 50s look, artificial trees came in white and green…but both live and artificial trees were often heavily flocked in any and every color you can imagine. For me personally, finding out that even the modern aluminum trees still can't have lights on them makes me think that white is once again the way to go. Oh, but one last silver tree link: the Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum
is actually only one of many museums I came across devoted to the silver tree, but this is the only one with pictures online. Check out the "growing process"!
In comic book news, I found this really interesting interview with Toshio Maeda, most famous (or infamous) here for creating the Urotsuki Doji (Legend of the Overfiend) stuff. It's part one of a series, which I will be checking back for. This one was particularly interesting because he makes several comments about the American comic industry, some perceptive and some showing that it's not just the American public that thinks adults don't read comic books.
Now I'm really sad—just saw that James Coburn had a heart attack and died. I adore James Coburn. And as a slight aside, I cannot believe that it took this long to get the Flint movies onto DVD, or that The President's Analyst is not on DVD at all. (We had it on tape but lost it ages ago.) Now I'm definitely quitting for the day.
I just have to say, I am so disappointed
in Jeffrey Jones
. Not that I knew him. But we've always looked forward to seeing him in films—my favorite example being his Criswell in Ed Wood
. But now he's (allegedly) gone and Gary Glittered on us…
Had a nice birthday yesterday, and my big present was a gamecube, yeehah! Plus the GC Resident Evil game I've been mooning over for months. So that's all I did last night…got a lot done before yesterday this week, so all in all an a-okay week, at least until one of the cats completely flipped out and smashed through a bunch of stuff last night, destroying one of my favorite vintage glasses in the process. (But I'd rather use stuff and risk it than just, I dunno, keep it in a case and look at it? Boring.) And got a new project underway, which hopefully I can open the project section with in another week or two. Preliminary results successful, so things are looking good…Since it's Saturday, I want to let you know that you can hear our favorite radio program on the internet tonight (8pm EST): Danny Stiles' Big Band Sounds
. We listen to him all week on other local stations, and he's worth catching. Danny's been doing this for over five decades now and he's got an amazing collection of music (and it's not just big band, actually). He also does his own ads and announcements, so it's very old school, although he tends to get a little wacky sometimes.
Busy day getting a new webstore ready to launch. Those codes are making me go blind! I saw a listing for the new Birds of Prey
TV show that starts this week, which I am actually going to try and check out. I did see the pilot a while back, and was surprised to like it, even though it suffered from pilot-itus like most things. If you like superhero stuff, give it a chance. Of course they retooled it so maybe it really stinks now, don't blame me if it does! I generally never watch primetime television but I'm going to try and remember to watch. I also want to check out the new Alfred Molina show, Bram and Alice
, although I'm afraid it will be too precious. I did get to see a couple episodes of CSI
recently, thanks to our truck stop sojourn, and I liked it. Although I think I mainly liked it because their big visual gimmick is
very much like the one used in a 1998 Japanese forensics drama I loved
called Kira Kira Hikaru
. Truthfully, I'll probably end up not watching any of them…thank god for Turner Movie Classics.
Between the heat and the grueling last-stretch-of-a-book's-deadline I'm just wiped out. Yesterday I felt awful and crashed on the couch, where I ended up transfixed by that Anna Nicole Smith show on E! last night. Not the documentary, but the reality show. It's beyond mondo. I never planned on watching it, and I don't know if I'd intentionally watch another episode, but it's like the celebrity car-crash to end all car-crashes. Evan hates that stuff and he even ended up sitting down for 15 minutes because you just cannot look away. (Of course, if there'd been a half-way
decent movie on our cable I wouldn't have been flicking channels and gotten sucked in. But that's a whole other issue.) Still, even with the heat and Anna Nicole softening my brain, I got a lot done over the weekend including setting up a Fun-Strip-of-the-week
thing at our home site (warning! strong language!) That only took me like, a year or two to get done.
I've been telling everyone I know about this amazing diary I found online (I was actually looking for a picture of a 70s jacket for reference) at a site called Stuck In The 70s
. It's verbatim, with misspellings and embarrassing declarations and all, and it runs from January of 1977 to December of 1979. It hasn't been updated in a while but the entries will eventually include 73-81. It was kept by a girl named Julie
(who was 13 in 1977) who now runs the 70s site her diary is maintained on. It starts slow, but trust me, it gets totally absorbing! It's better than most of the "teen books" I've read in my lifetime, easily. But more entries, please!
This weekend I got to see one of my favorite bands, Puffy
, on their first North American tour. I've never seen a band that looked so happy, down to the last member. I have to admit, I'm a fan but my expectations were a little low (they're pretty "produced" so I wasn't sure how that would work out)—but they were totally impressive live. We almost thought the show would be cancelled (the power went out in a big chunk of Manhattan) but the venue was spared and the show went on (yay!). It was easily the best show I'd been to in a long time. The first opening band, Gaijin A' Go-Go
was really interesting, but alas, I was too tapped out to get the CD (well, you know, after buying my Puffy shirt) and I actually cannot
find them, or anything about them, online. Horrors!
Hey, forgot to mention it—new cooking lesson went up Friday!
Thursday we fulfilled a life-long dream of Evan's and saw Ricky Jay performing his new show, On the Stem. It was a fantastic show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can actually get tickets (I bought ours as a present for Evan three months ago). But the real topper to the show came afterwards—for those of you unfamiliar with Ricky Jay and this show, an incredibly terse summary is that he does magic and discusses the history of broadway and con men. After the intermission, he sells boxes of chocolates for $5 (I tried to get one for Evan but there weren't enough!), and the last one he sells for $10, giving you a chance to get a gold watch, a $100 bill, or a plain box. Of course you get the plain box, but he reveals that it had $5 in it. Now, it's obvious that it's a mild con on the audience, although I think 99% of the audience know perfectly well that it's just a box of candy and are more than willing to pay $5 for the cool Ricky Jay box. But then there's that one percent....all the way out of the theater, this guy behind us talked loudly to his female companion about how "obviously" there's really $5 in every single box, that selling you a box of just candy would be "unfair" and "not allowed" (as Evan said, who's coming after him? the magic cops?) and then talked about how he'd let her have the chocolate but he was keeping the $5 in there as a souvenir. She was trying to argue with him but he just kept on—I so desperately wanted him to open it right there but he wouldn't, just kept lecturing her about how "no-one would do that". I seriously thought we were going to become hysterical listening to him all the way out of there…