Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I had a disturbing dream last night. I had dreams pretty much all last night, likely thanks to the holiday dairy intake catching up to me, but one of them stuck with me longer than a few minutes after waking, which is unusual.

In the dream, I was in a three storey apartment, on my way up the stairs from the bottom to leave via the front door, which was located in the middle storey. As I reached the second storey, I ran into my grandfather, who was coming down from the top story intended to leave himself.

This was shocking, because my dreamself knew Granddad was dead. The realization that I was talking to him regardless caused a tightening in my chest that made it difficult to explain what was causing the tightening in my chest. He helped me downstairs to the living room, where I eventually calmed down enough to ask him how he got there.

He didn't know. Thinking about it, he couldn't remember much at all. I didn't want to tell him he wasn't alive, so I did what I could to try and revive his memories. It took awhile.

Eventually, he realized that he was dead. He lay on his back on the floor and curled up into a ball. I tried to comfort him, but he grew increasingly agitated by the idea that he was a ghost. He bounced up and down, off the ceiling and the floor a few times.

Then he transformed into a white sock.


In my e-mail this morning was a mail forwarded from my father, informing me that my Aunt Kate--granddad's older sister, which I guess would actually make her a great-aunt...?--had passed away.

This put me in a reflective mood that I've almost completely destroyed by watching the first half hour of the Mike Judge film Idiocracy.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I do not want to go outside and you can't make me.

Not going to develop this year's holiday-inspired idea. Because everyone's in a bad enough mood without seeing Santa portrayed as the leader of a cult of elf-slaves who exiles Milton, one of his most devoted followers, and then tells Milt he'll only be allowed back at the North Pole if he hunts down and kills Santa's illegitimate daughter, who's a thief preparing to steal the Real Mona Lisa from an arms dealer art collector.



The ReBoot webcomic is done. As the writer put it, "Thank the User."



If I had to use a single word to describe the film, it would be "excessive."

Some of the funny bits were actually reasonably funny.

The dialogue was stunningly awful.

The visuals were exactly what you'd expect, which is unfortunate, as I think many of the recycled Sin City visual tricks could be used to great effect if they were used in something other than a completely random fashion.

Pretty much every place and character name that wasn't established in Eisner's strip was a comic reference, to the point where those of us who know who Iger and Donenfeld refer to in the real world would inevitably be distracted from the film's barely-there story.

Terrible, terrible dialogue.

There were at least two Hot Dames that absolutely did not need to be in the film. Probably more like four, but at least two.

Eva Mendes has a nice butt, but I don't think it contributed as much to the film as Miller did, at least not judging by the screen time it got.

Gabriel Macht did what he could with what he had; Samuel L. Jackson was Samuel L. Jackson on a crack/steroids cocktail; the women all looked good and while none of them were overtly whores (at this point, having women who aren't prostitutes qualifies as restraint on Miller's part), none of them could resist The Spirit's machismo.

Miller's Spirit has the bizarre superpower of glowing-soled hightops.

At one point, completely out of the blue, The Spirit breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience. Why this was deemed necessary when half the film's dialogue (which was god-awful) was in voice-over to begin with, I have no idea.

It was better than I expected, but that's not saying much, as I expected it to be pure, tortuous awfulness from beginning to end. Instead, the pure, tortuous awfulness was interspersed with humour, a lot of it extremely broad physical comedy, that worked in the context of the film. But, as Jay said after the film was over, "It's not Will Eisner's Spirit."



In addition to being THe Future of Comics (I), Fiona Staples is just an all-around awesome person whose package arrived yesterday. Tiina loves the print.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Cold, White Death

Final lettering revisions for ReBoot's last two installments are done. I and the creative team were skating perilously close to the weekly deadline pretty much from Day One, but we never actually missed one. It was a rocky road, but we appear to have reached our destination. Which means one less thing I've got to worry about over this next week (I'm saving my "Where's the next paycheque coming from?" freakout for Boxing Week.)

As is my somewhat sporadic tradition, I've come up with an idea for a Christmas-themed story. I don't know why I continue to do this--out of the eight or nine I've come up with over the years I've only ever used THE HOLIDAY MEN and, hopefully, The Christmas Spirit as the second or third Spooky Kids story.

I was going to write about this new idea, but typing the last paragraph, I just remembered I've got something important to do re: The H-Men. So maybe I'll pick that up tomorrow. Or not at all. It's pretty bleak, which is in keeping with my standard mood round this time of year, but not necessarily something I ought to be inflicting on the world.

If I don't get back to blogging for a bit, I hope everyone reading has a joy-filled X-Mas or equivalent winter-themed holiday of their choice. Beware mmistletoe hanging in unusual places.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No. No no no no no no no no no no.

I did not just chip a tooth a week and a bit before Christmas. I DID NOT.

And if I did, I absolutely, positively did NOT chip it on a #*%&ing hot dog bun.



"The Satanic Rites of Dracula". 1971 Hammer Horror film, which pretty much says everything necessary, doesn't it? How one could go wrong with a title like that, I'll never know, but while there were some bits that really pleased me (Peter Cushing just oozes cool), it was ultimately kind of a pointless exercise (why that suprises me, I don't know--I guess I sort of romanticize Hammer Horror stuff and the reality almost always lets me down.) Personally, I like the original title--"Dracula is Alive and Well and Living in West London"--better, but I guess Christopher Lee objected to having a comedy title on what is absolutely not a comedy film. It doesn't even make it into the so bad it's good category (unfortunately.) The plot revolves around a Dracula-led conspiracy to destroy the world via Satanic ritual and a powerful strain of the Black Plague and naked women. All the Satanic cult's henchmen dressed exactly the same, in a brown wooly vest over black pants and shirt. After the first couple of encounters, I reckon everyone who needed to know would be able to pick out a Satanist at a range of half a mile...

"Southland Tales". Richard Kelly does his best David Lynch imitation with an end of the world...I'm leery of calling it a story, as it reads more like a series of barely connected events that kinda tie up but kinda don't in the end. Maybe if I read the three gaphic novels that are supposed to precede the movie (which starts with Chapter IV) I'd be better able to figure out just what the hell happened and why Justin Timberlake lip-syncing a Killers song in the middle of the film is the critical element of the thing. Lots and lots of voice-over, which I don't mind in theory, but which got tedious after about twenty minutes--OK, there's a lot of exposition needed to make some kind of sense of the world he'd created, but I've got to think more of it could've been dealt with in actual dialogue. And the opening voiceover monologue surprisingly does lean heavily on the graphic novels (written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele), with numerous images from the books appearing. Apparently it's supposed to be a comedy (albeit a black one), but the only thing consistently amusing to me was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's performance as a self-absorbed, highly strung movie star.



"Let Me In/Let The Right One In", by Jonathan Ajvide Lindqvist. As I sit here thinking about it, I can't escape the fact that a similar set-up was used as the foundation of an episode of the Highlander television series, but looking beyond that, Let The Right One In is pretty good vampire story, and that's coming from someone who's a pretty hard sell when it comes to vampires. Not genre-redefining, as the film festival PR for the movie would've had you believe, but still good. Oskar, a bullied, pudgy kid from a broken hom who's right on the edge of breaking under social pressures at school befriends a stange girl, while a killer stalks the city, affecting the lives of various characters, most of whom live in the same apartment complex as the pudgy kid. I'm torn as to whether I like the book better than the film, which was pretty good. The book has a few story threads and subplots that the film didn't, including some history of the strange girl, Eli, and the old man who lives with her (his paedophilia's spelled out loud and clear in the book.) In fact, the old guy is given substantially more to do in the book, which leads to some of the grimmer scenes that I really wouldn't have minded seeing on film but which are, admittedly, tangential to the main thrust of the story, which is the relationship between Oskar and Eli. There are at least two revelations about Eli in the book that I missed in the film (possibly because I wasn't paying close enough attention--I was pretty flustered that day), and a third that explicitly rules out one of my favourite readings of the movie. If you've any interest in non-romantic vampires, this is worth a look--I don't recognize the name of the person quoted on the cover calling the book "Anne Ricean", but it really couldn't be farther from the truth.



Funnily enough, he didn't zero in on the thing that really bugged me, which was the offhanded way in which "Hiro's stuck in the past" was dealt with. I'm as ready to suspend my disbelief as the next guy, but come on...


Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Might be time to lay off the pills a little, Foley..."

A few minutes ago Diego Simone, long-suffering ReBoot artist sent me pencils for three of the last four pages for the weekly webcomic, which got him a reply of "This is great, but I really need the inks/colours for page 39 like, RIGHT NOW, because the letterer needs to have them done, like, RIGHT NOW."

Which got me the reply of "I sent you that page, but here it is again."

I figured we were facing a repeat of Tuesday, when a page had been lost between his sending it and my gmail account, and was seriously considering looking at alternate e-mail otions, until I looked at my Sent Mail list...and discovered I actually had gotten the page, looked at it, and forwarded it to equally long-suffering letterer Ed Brisson and the comic's writer. And I had and have no memory of doing that. Looking at the timeline, I realize all of this happened sometime after me taking a SleepMD pill last night, which I can only hope at least contributed to this piece of lost time.

Mind you, I do keep seeing images of grey aliens every time I close my eyes. Maybe that's related...

Anyway, the important thing is, we've got five pages to go and then my part on the ReBoot project is basically done. And that'll be me unemployed in any creative capacity, and just in time for Christmas, from the looks of it.


On the upside, I'm feeling more energized about writing right now than I have in some time. The screenplay's ticking along at a regrettably glacial pace, but I'm also working on a new proposal for a project with Nick Johnson, and I've been thinking of taking another shot at finding a story to go along with the characters from OLD DOGS. When writing up the idea to show Hollywood Manager, I came up with a new twist to the scenario I hadn't considered before that might just pull the thing into a workable shape.


I had an idea a bit like this one a couple years back. It was called SAME SH*T, DIFFERENT GALAXY, and was a workplace sitcom about the janitorial staff on a starship, the bridge crew of which were the stars of a reality television show. I even got the Future of Comics (I) Fiona Staples to do some character designs for a possible animated version. I don't know why I never went much of anywhere with the idea, but it just...never happened. Which is for the best, apparently. One FOOL'S ERRAND in this life is enough for me.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can you feel the fire burning within you? Can you feel it?

If this turns out to be an act of god, I will laugh and laugh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Arguable Points

Arguable Points
There are few things that I like better than a good argument. But finding a good one in general and online in particular isn't easy.

I believe it's during one of the roughly half a dozen quintannual (if that's actually a word--I don't feel like looking it up, but it feels like something that should mean "occurring every five years", which is how I mean it even if that's not what the word really means, assuming it even exists, which I don't really) Monty Python retrospective presentations that Terry Jones talks about his and John Cleese's dynamic during arguments. According to Jones, when angered, Cleese's voice would deepen and he'd withdraw somewhat--basically keep the anger he was likely feeling under control and to some degree hidden. On the other hand, when Jones got angry, his Welsh background would show through--his voice would become higher, more obviously agitated. And, paraphrasing (my recollection of) Jones, when one side of a discussion becomes angry, they've lost the argument.

I tend to agree with this theory. At a minimum, the point at which I lose my temper is the point at which, whatever the result, I cannot feel that I won an argument. Even if I'm subsequently able to convince the other person/people I'm in the right, I didn't win, because at some point I let the merits of my argument go in favour of focusing on something other than the merits of the opposing argument.

I once knew a girl--OK, dated a girl--OK, was engaged to a girl who took any disagreement with her position as a personal attack. Her primary strategy when it came to arguing was not to present the merits of her position or challenge the merits of those who disagreed. Instead, she would personally attack the party making the argument. An argument with her might start along these lines:

HER: I believe that the Albertan conservatives are the best political party in the province because they want to balance the budget.*
ME: I disagree. While balancing the budget is a noble endeavour, the way the conservatives want to do it is by gutting healthcare and unilaterally cutting teachers' agreed-upon salaries, among other things I find objectionable.
HER: You've got a small penis.

I dislike having arguments I know I absolutely cannot win. I'm open to being proven wrong, and have altered my position on occasion, when someone presented me with an argument I had no choice but to acknowledge was superior to my own. Jay Bardyla at Happy Harbor's perspective on certain elements of the comics industry have forced me to reevaluate some beliefs I held prior to discussing them with him. I don't see the point in arguing with someone who isn't likewise able to accept at least the possibility that they're wrong . Unless I'm feeling like a bastard that day, and think I can sneak a semi-win by getting the opposition riled up.

Anyway. This train of thought was inspired in part by continuing back difficulties which have me in a bleak frame of mind, but mostly by the comments thread in response to a post by Valerie D'Orazio about the Australian Simpsons Child Porn Case, which would probably have put me in a bleak frame of mind even if I'd started reading it in a good mood. I'm tempted to weigh in with another reply, but at this point I feel like both sides' points have been made and I'd only be stirring the pot.

I spent a good portion of my late teens and twenties baiting people. It was fun at the time, but that time has passed. I'll save my energy for a good argument, and hope one comes along soon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Well, it's been nearly six months since my last trip to the ER, and sure enough, my back started getting tweaky yesterday. Tossing back four extra-strength gelcaps per the ER doctor's orders last time did indeed abort the problem last night, when it got really bad, but this morning I awoke in roughly the same position I was in yesterday--not in excruciating pain, but with a catch in my back (and, in this instance, side) that tells me I'm one wrong move away from, well, another trip to the hospital.

What would constitute a wrong move, you ask? Well, there's the rub. This thing always hits out of nowhere. Carrying fifty pounds of cat litter into the house isn't the problem; opening the trunk of the car to get the cat litter might be. Or something like, well, breathing deeply.

I don't have enough ESA gelcaps on hand to do what I did last night tonight; I don't have the will to venture out into the icy wasteland the last couple days has turned out neighbourhood into to get enough of said gelcaps; and even if I did, I don't think my stomach could take another dose in that quantity without bursting from my midsection like an Alien and brutally killing everything in the house (which, in the case of Smoky, is not necessarily a bad thing. Stupid, stoopid cat.)

So we'll see what the night and tomorrow hold on the back front.

One thing tomorrow absolutely will not be is the stress-fest that today was. As if expending time and energy trying not to inhale the wrong way wasn't bad enough, the artist for ReBoot dropped off the face of the earth for a solid 24 hours--without having delivered the much-needed final colours for the last page of this coming Monday's installment. Or, more accurately, he had delivered the page, I just hadn't received it in my inbox, for reasons only the universe that's decided to #*%(ing hate me today could tell you.

The page has been received and I'm currently not going to sleep while I wait for the letterer to finish applying his art to the page, which is due tomorrow. There are some days I just hate editing, and this was one of them.

Prior to my sending increasingly frantic "Where are you/where's my page/are you still alive/if you're still alive why haven't you sent me my page?" e-mails every fifteen minutes for several hours, I actually got a reasonable amount of work done on the new screenplay. I think we're finally into the stage where the thing takes on a life of its own. No longer do I have to force (most of) the characters to say something--I understand (most of) them enough that they're talking to each other without me nudging them.

If this were July, I'd probably have a first draft ready to go in maybe two weeks. As it's December, I'm thinking maybe another month. Decembers and I do not get along.



So, if Neil Gaiman and various others are reading things right, Lisa Simpson of the animated show the Simpsons is considered a person under Australian law, and images of her having sex with her father qualify is roughly equivalent to having images of non-fictional human minors having relations with non-fictional human adults.

My position on this should come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog. For an opposing viewpoint, check out Occasional Superheroine Valerie D'Orazio's post on the subject. I respect and to some degree understand her position on the subject and can sympathize with her feeling uncomfortable expressing her opinion (ironic, as the discussion is all about freedom of speech.)

As I stated in a reply to her post that, as yet, hasn't been cleared, this subject is bound to bring out extreme positions. Both sides are looking at the bottom of their respective slippery slopes, and, having seen the destination, are going to do whatever it takes to ensure the slide never gets started.

Also, the character of Lisa Simpson is well past the age of consent. She just looks young.


Monday, December 8, 2008

That Olde Time Religion

That Olde Time Religion
Not that I think one's needed or even necessarily desirable, but this Newsweek article presents the biblical arguments in favour of gay marriage (via Mark Evanier)


As it happens, I've been thinking about Christianity a but more than usual today, for the silliest of reasons. During the daily indulgence of my masochistic streak, I was watching CNN this morning, when it was announced that the guest on tonight's Larry King was MegaPreacher SomeonewhosenameIdon'tremember and his wife. And I started to wonder exactly how one takes the step beyond simply preaching and starts MEGApreaching. Does this guy spread the word longer than normal preachers? Louder? With a megaphone, maybe? While eating a mega-sized fast food meal?

Or, when he's defeated by the Power Rangers, does he transform from a normal sci-fi martial arts preacher into a giant sci-fi martial arts MegaPreacher who must fight his foes in their giant robot form in an anonymous mountain range before he is ultimately defeated? And if so, does that mean that the Power Rangers are servants of Satan? Actually, that last bit makes a certain amount of sense...

And then I decided I wanted to be megasomething. Not sure what, yet. Well, I'd LIKE to be mega-awesome, but let's be realistic, here. How would one become a megawriter? A megasleeper? A megawhiner?

And then I decided the whole thing was kind of stupid and the guy was just a preacher and someone who writes the copy for Larry King's show needs to lay off the cappuccino a bit. Doesn't really matter how big his flock is, whoever the guest is/was, he's just another preacher (and another preacher's wife.)


This was just one of the many deep trains of thought I had today. Another started with me reflecting fondly on the days when people talked about "stories" and characters", and almost no one referred to them as "content."

This particular train of thought turned out to be the C-Line to Bummersville.


And then I read Abhay Khosla's review for SECRET INVASION #8 at the Savage Critics, and that brightened my day somewhat, because it's some damn entertaining writing. And it is the source of today's Quote of the Day:

"Kids thus learn a valuable lesson about heroism: nobody think it’s heroic to shoot a woman in the head with a bow & arrow; they only think it’s heroic to shoot a woman in the head with a ray gun."

There were probably a dozen other lines worthy of mention in the review, but that's the one Ithat jumped out at me, probably because of the additional visual punchline Khosla adds in the body of the review itself.


And then I watched a bunch of television and came upstairs, and decided I'd write a blog instead of watching Heroes and then read some more of Mumblemumble Lindqvist's novel LET ME IN (aka LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) and then turn the lights off and go to sleep. Knock on wood.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

The beginning of the end?

In the wake of Arianna Huffington's appearance on the Daily Show to promote her book about blogging, I'm considering shutting this livejournal/blog thing down. Either that or trying to give it a focus that's both narrower and something that I can write about regularly. Right now, I'm inclined just to stop, but I know me well enough to know there's a good chance I'll change my mind, so I'm not going to commit to withdrawing back to the nether regions from whence I came (and judging by the size of my readership, arguably never really left, ha ha).

There's a lot almost going on; started seriously developing a new project based on an idea by Nick Johnson yesterday; plugging away at the screenplay for Producer Guy; waiting for responses from a half dozen producer types, a couple editors, a manager and a partridge in a pear tree; there's a short essay I've started writing a dozen times but can't seem to close; Big NY Editor needs more chapters of the YA novel before she can sell her boss on it (that one's not happening any time soon, the way my schedule's shaking out)...but there's always a lot almost going on. I'm getting tired of writing about it, especially when I could be writing something...I don't want to say useful, but...productive, maybe ?

So, we'll see. In any event, don't expect a whole lot to be showing up here until after the New Year.


I see ATLANTIS RISING, the comic penned by my friend and occasional co-writer Scott O. Brown, has been attached to director Len Wiseman and looks like it's moving ahead at DreamWorks. Strangely, I don't see his name mentioned in any of the press surrounding the film--I can't think of any other announcement where Platinum didn't mention an optioned comic's writer. I suppose Variety and Co. could've edited the announcement or something, assuming there was one...

Anyway. As with all things Hollywood, I'll believe there's actually fire accompanying the smoke when I'm recovering in the burn ward and not a second before. But I'm told that "buzz" is always useful by people who ought to know, so I hope SOB gets a little public credit where it's due.


Maybe a groupblog of some sort.

Of course, that would require finding some sort of a group...

Maybe not.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dayzed and Confused

For the last couple of months I've developed a tendency to forget what day it is. Actually, that's not quite right--I feel like I know what day it is, it's just I'm wrong. For instance, I know for a fact it's Tuesday, but I just can't shake the feeling it's Wednesday.

I wonder if this is related to the days getting shorter, or medications fogging my brain more than usual (head is throbbing, ready to split today--first snowfall that hasn't evaporated inside of an hour or two), or the loss of one of my external time-keeping touchstones (visiting Granddad--never had a regular time for a visit, but I was always vaguely aware of how long it was since I'd last seen him.) Or hell, if I'm just getting old.

On the upside, been moving at a decent clip on the screenplay for Big Producer Guy I. So who cares what day it is?



Here's a link to Neil Gaiman's defense of people who enjoy creepy things that don't actively harm other people. I made a similar argument awhile back in response to a post by
[info]deireanach, but I suspect more people will be likely to buy it coming from Mr. G.