Friday, March 20, 2009

Rogan on Disbelieving

I'm enjoying this blog immensely, if you can't tell. This one is on UFOs, skepticism, and new ways of seeing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kevin Smith on YouTube

Just some things I found on writing Superman, Dora the Explorer, and religion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Watchman: An Authoritative Comic Book Perspective Review

It was okay.

It would have benefited from an original score. Hearing Bob Dylan over footage from both the forties and the eighties was a little disorienting... and Flight of the Valkyries while Dr. Manhattan microwaves the Vietnamese was a little too funny to be impactful.

They cut out two of the best pages in the book (Rorschach literally snapping fingers in the bar) but otherwise remained pretty faithful. Most of the dialog was ripped straight from the comic and (unlike Sin City) it was well-delivered by the actors. Reading Watchmen, one got the sense that even if you missed Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's symbolism or parallels, you knew that they were there for a reason. It's complexity gives you a reason to keep reading it every five or ten years. But when you watch Zack Snyder's Watchmen, it feels a little like listening to a cover band. It is like greatness, but not greatness.

Great performances by the actors whose names I don't know playing Rorschach and Nite-Owl. Didn't like the effete twit cast as Veidt (Snyder seems to have conflicting issues with homosexuality) or Silk Spectre in general, but whether that was the acting or the directing is hard to tell. She was the only one who didn't have eighties hair. As the only female character, she was given the most dramatic cosmetic overhall that made me feel like I'm supposed to masturbate to her, not think of her as an actual woman with feelings as she goes from dating an emotionless god to pathetically normal guy.

Oh, and I don't care that they changed the ending.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That last Joe Rogan post kinda sucked...

I really didn't have a good example of why I thought he was a philosopher comic.

Now I do.

There is no picture, just audio.


I want to write something but nothing is flowing.

On my to-do list are:

The first issue of Astonishing Adventures
An outline for Most Modern (the comic)
The second part in The Socialist Agenda's drug report - Prescription psychological medication
Part 4 of my exhaustive history of the X-Men
A new post-apocalyptic story based on previous ideas

These are pretty much in the order which I want to write them. I want to work on AA because I want to concentrate on one project and this one should be the most fun, but I want to work on Most Modern because it's less structured and more contemporary so I don't have to "think forties." But while I have a lot of ideas for characters, themes, and plot lines, I still don't have a story.

I also really want to do the drug report because I have a lot of fantastic information, but not enough. I would really have to do more research. There is a book by Dr. Peter Breggin called The Anti-Depressant Fact Book that I really want to read, but I don't have any money for pleasure spending right now. Hopefully soon.

My X-Men posts also take a surprisingly long time. I have all of the pictures compiled for the next entry, but writing and arranging the pictures is a big pain in the ass so I think I'll wait until I'm not so burnt out from writing the previous three.

I had an idea for a post-apocalyptic story set in suburban sprawl where, instead of a desert wasteland, American is just filled with natural growth which is slowly consuming mankind. The few surviving humans are mutants, groundlings are ten-feet tall at the shoulder, and giant diesel powered wasps form hives in malls. Listening to Franklin's new album really put me in the mood for that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Socialist Agenda

Well, my sister site has now been publicly released! (Although my only two commentators have already found it, but if you check it out, I now have pictures!)

The name was actually a edgier a month ago before the fear of socialism had been ramped up to apocalyptic levels. I have been hearing this garbage all of my life, but no one was ever able to explain to me why socialism didn't work. But the more I've learned about the Republican party and the history of economics, the more I've come to discover that this is just fear mongering from those who put their business interests ahead of the general good.

So instead of just crying "socialism doesn't work" and pointing at evil fascist regimes in third world countries that used the cloak of socialism to push their own agenda of power and hatred, let's actually discuss a system of government that we want to live in.

The point of this blog is not simply to complain that things are bad, but to suggest solutions in every aspect of the socio-political world. Let's start imagining (or re-imagining, in this case) new forms of government for the 21st century. Let's decide what we want the future to look like before someone else decides for us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twidiots and Technophiles

Sit your ass down and prepare for a rant or get the fuck out of the way, because I'm in a mood.

And I will begin this by saying, I'm a fairly smart and technically savvy young person, but I have no idea what the fuck Twitter is, how you use it, or why anyone would get excited about it. I had to check it out because we were thinking of expanding tech support into Twitter. As far as I can tell, its just a long, free form version of chat mixed with a message board. But unlike a blog, it doesn't force you to find the best way to say something that interests you, it's designed for pointless, immediate, random thoughts. That might be interesting if they were at least funny, but usually its just a bunch of jackasses saying "God, I'm so sick of not working!" or "This person is full of shit." And politians are using this shit now so the media is talking about it and it's set to become the next big thing, but I fail to see how this benefits any one in any way.

Blogs I get. A blog is for something you cannot express conversationally. For example, I couldn't go into a rant like this in person because at some point, I'd have to pretend to care what someone other than myself thinks. It would screw up my flow, and before I know it, someone would be telling me about a dream they had last night and by then my conversational intentions are squashed.

Another nice thing about blogs is that I can spend some time gathering my thoughts and how to best articulate them. I can invite others to join in and they can read at their leisure. They can scan my archives and skip the parts about comic books if they don't give a crap. I can import pictures and videos to help illustrate my point. I can add links to smarter or more reputable people than myself; or I can send you links to show you how stupid people can be in their own words. And YOU get to choose how much you want to listen to.

Video blogs would be better if the people on them weren't so inane. If it were a round table discussion from smart people (I don't care if they have credentials so much as if they are smart and honest), that would be fantastic, but most of them are either off the cuff rants from someone staring at their computer camera about how someone who thinks something different is a fucktard. Then someone even stupider comes along to trash that guy and we are all witness to the Clash of the Morons (see YouTube).

Interestingly, I think podcasts are generally better than video blogs... partly because you don't see some jackass leaning into his tiny camera for a fish-eye lens perspective, but even more because the person producing the podcast only has to be concerned with how something sounds and so they don't need a "hot chick" or quickly flashing graphics to make it more interesting.

As for chat, I think chat is one of the best things that ever happened to dating. Instead of calling a girl up after getting her contact information and trying to sound interested but not too interested, you can casually bullshit with someone in an informal setting without interuption and no need for an excuse to leave if it turns out that they bug the crap out of you. And if you have a blog, video blog, podcast, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, DeviantArt, or whatever, you can send to them and they will get a far better idea of who you are. (Disclaimer: This should not be taken as an endorsement of Facebook or Myspace which I regard as a nebulous blackhole of self-reference.)

Getting back on track (as if I had a track to begin with), technophilia is out of control. As soon as we invent a machine you can fuck and have a dialog with, society will be screwed... at least until we realize that we can fuck and converse with people and always could, we were just too fucking uptight and obsessed with progress to do it.

I have a theory that I call the Afraid of Independent Thought theory. This theory says that when we lack external forms of stimulation, our brain functions in a different way. If you've ever just stared up at the sky on a cloudy day or a starry night (if people still do that), you know that this is true. I often encourage people to meditate, not because I think they will have some spiritual revelation, but just so they can stop thinking about external things and focus on their own mind.

But people don't want to do that because when you are forced to face your thoughts, all of those bad thoughts and insecurities come to you; all of those nihilistic thoughts about a purposeless universe or maybe all sorts of thoughts about inadequacy... so you hide from them. You get on your cell phone and talk about nothing. I used to enjoy watching a college class get out and the amount of people who are on their cell phones before they even get out of the fucking door!

Not that long ago, when you went to the movie theater, you listened to music before the show and you could spend that time talking to your friends. Eventually, they came up with trivia games before the movie, but still, this was something you could ignore. Now they have loud, obnoxious commercials making it difficult (if not impossible) to talk to your friends and all around you people are talking to someone on their cell phone about nothing. And throughout the movie, you can see the blinking lights of text message screens as people need multiple means of distraction at the same time.

(Here's an idea: Instead of telling people to turn off their cell phones, how about you insulate the theater from radio waves? If you started advertizing "Zero Reception" movie theaters, I'd be more inclined to go.)

And I'm no poster child for the simple life. I have a big screen TV, laptop, Wii, high speed internet, DVR, scanner, and I try to use as many of them at the same time as possible. But at least I recognize that it is abusive, unhealthy behavior. Like the Buddhists say, it's not the object, but our attachment to it which is unhealthy. It is not the "what" but the "why" that matters.

Spend fifteen minutes just sitting somewhere. I beg you. Don't do anything. Don't watch a show, don't play a game, don't have a conversation... You can twiddle your thumbs if you want to, but anything more complex than that is out. You might feel anxious. You might be disappointed that you aren't having any profound thoughts, but I promise you will learn something about yourself when you force yourself to do nothing for just a few minutes. And I don't mean nothing like I did yesterday sitting on my ass watching TV. I mean actual nothing.

Seriously. Don't just think about it. Try it. If you have too many people around to distract you, just tell them to give you fifteen uninterrupted minutes to yourself. Or do it with them. Don't talk or make funny faces at eachother. Turn your backs to one another if it helps, just stop and think for fifteen minutes straight. And if you find any value in this, maybe do it once a week. How about Sunday nights?

I honestly think that the world would be a much better place if people would just stop for fifteen minutes each week and think. They might start to break that addiction they have to constant stimulus which is preventing them from all but the minimal possible amount of introspection. They might even start to realize that all of these shiny new things are just new ways of ignoring old problems.