sfwriter: (Default)
I ran across the infamous "Archy and Mehitabel" poems by Don Marquis at a young age, maybe 12 or 14, and fell in love with them immediately. I'm sure they influenced my thinking more than I've ever realized. I haven't owned a copy of them in years, but I still remember many, many lines from them.


Read more... )
sfwriter: (rayting)
I will be so glad when I finish “Piranha.” I never want to write fanfiction again! It’s very disconcerting, writing about a character who keeps being pulled out from under you by developments not under your own control.

Of course, my conception of the character doesn’t have all that much to do with the game in the first place – but maybe it does, because the ideas I got about Rayman almost instantly when I began to play the original Rayman game, were very much like his character as it was more fully developed in Rayman 2, so I couldn’t have been all that far off.

Unfortunately, while I’ve been slogging through this unintentionally oversized novel based on those ideas, the company that actually owns the little bugger has put out another game which completely subverts him into a farcical creature targeted at 9 to 12-year-old boys, and is coming out with another that will take him in other directions that I can only shudder at. Even though the game will probably be pretty good in itself, it will blast my conceptions of Rayman and his story and his relationships into smithereens.

Well, of course, that’s what happens when you start borrowing bits out of somebody else’s ongoing project. So I need to get back to projects of my own, that’s all.

I can’t complain though... this has been a fun love affair. Just because he’s not mine, and never will be, I can be completely irresponsible about the whole thing. I’ve enjoyed that. But enough, sooner or later you have to return to what passes in your own mind for the real world.
sfwriter: (Default)
My artist friend [livejournal.com profile] raygirlrol made this great little animation, it would be wrong not to pass it on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLrq4A_k5ok

It's Raygirl all over, it made even me smile. :D Take a look!

Edit: Oops, it had to be taken down for now for school reasons. Hopefully it'll be back up later.
Re-edit: It's back up again. :D

Gah

May. 19th, 2006 08:00 am
sfwriter: (treadmill)
Since it hasn't happened for over a year (aaaaaugghhhh!), I must commemorate the completion of another section of that miserable fanfic "Piranha." (On my DA account that is.) By this time I hardly care if anybody reads it, it's just a relief to get the thing out of my life.

Now for the next three sections... *sigh* They'll be easier, though, I think. This one was tough, and I'm still not satisfied with it, but - bleh, enough already.

If I were conscious I wouldn't be writing fanfics anyway. There are all those other abandoned little stories whimpering at me, damnable things that they are. But they're even tougher to figure out.
sfwriter: (Default)
Since I don't have any software to record film clips, I have to make them myself from screenshots and Adobe ImageReady. Hence the sketchiness of the animation. But I kind of like it that way.

buster keaton
Transom-3.gif

From "The Goat." Buster Keaton's typical flouting of gravity and other conventional forces.
sfwriter: (Cook)
Hmmmm... all my customizations are gone. Whuh? Man, this is one ugly font.

Guess I'll check back tomorrow and see if this is permanent.
sfwriter: (peershirt)
Okay, not everybody shares my passion for opera (at least some operas), and not everybody's as much of a dunce about DVDs as I am, but I only just discovered that all the operas I've been longing to see again are available on DVD!

Since I left Toronto almost a couple of decades back, I haven't been to a live opera, and since I left Las Vegas five years ago I haven't had TV to see even the occasional televised one, so I'm hungry... and on a whim I combed through Amazon.com and discovered that one of my favourites, Peter Grimes, is available in two different versions, both of which appear to be terrific. I was practically in tears just at the thought of hearing that gorgeous music again. On the other hand, my favourite singer for that story, Peter Pears, is only available in an audio version which costs more than both of those DVDs put together - go figure.

But there's so much, much more, and at pretty darn reasonable prices... I foresee another binge about to occur, whenever my finances recover after the holidays.

Gah! Maybe I'll even spring for Ingmar Bergman's version of The Magic Flute, that was pretty darn nice when I saw it a lifetime or so ago... ooh I can't wait.
sfwriter: (Bertie)
Heard about something interesting today, http://www.pandora.com. It's a sort of streaming radio station you create yourself, by telling the site what your musical preferences are, and they come up with songs they think you might like. The interface is very pleasant, and you can keep refining your preferences, tell it what songs you particularly liked or disliked, add artists or songs yourself, and they'll take that into consideration as they keep playing. You can also create something like 100 different "stations" for yourself. It's a great way to find new artists you might enjoy.

Unfortunately, at this point it's only for the U.S., but they have plans to expand it worldwide as they get the rights in different countries. Apparently that's a bit complicated. There are limitations on exactly what they can play, how often, and so on, but they do have a base of 300,000 songs so far and are adding. People can send them their own original recordings for consideration as well. Great place to get heard, I would think.

It was interesting listening to the selections they picked for me and realizing that a large part of what makes me like a song is not only the musical qualities (which is what they base the selections on) but the personal character of the singer and the lyrics. So musicians "similar" to Paul Simon, whom I love, pretty much leave me cold, because who else (apart from Dylan) writes poetry like that? On the other hand, they came up with somebody "similar" to Bessie Smith that I'd never heard of and who was great (Ma Rainey I think her name was?). Well, she really was similar, at least in the song they played. I can see poking around this site could be quite educational.

I'm disappointed, though, that they don't have "world" music, which I'd like to get to know more of. They don't have classical music, either, at this point. Maybe later. But there's still quite a lot to explore.
sfwriter: (Cook)
Finally achieved a long-time ambition by seeing the 1971 movie "Cold Turkey" again after decades. An ad man too smart for his own good, inspired by Alfred Nobel's Peace Prize, comes up with a plan for a tobacco company to generate publicity by offering $25 million to any city that can quit smoking for 30 days. The little town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, destitute since the Pentagon took away its military base, is reluctantly persuaded by its ambitious minister Dick Van Dyke to take the tobacco company up on the deal - which means the folks giving up their only remaining pleasure in life. Now the problem for the tobacco company becomes how to keep them from managing to do it, after it begins to look like greed might miraculously win out over the power of addiction. The "happy" ending of the movie is one of the finer satirical moments in cinema, I swear.

It's still a very funny film, with (for me at least) only a few false notes or dated bits, and the satire bites perhaps harder today in some ways than when it was new. It was co-written and directed by Norman Lear, and it's stronger than what he could get away with on television. Along with Dick Van Dyke, there's the beloved Jean Stapleton, Edward Everett Horton (in I believe his last role), a young Bob Newhart as the ad man, and a lot of other people who used to be, or later became, very well known. One of the delights of the film is the many minor characters who are all tremendously funny, and who you get to know as well as if you lived in a small town with them yourself. Incidentally, I believe it was also Randy Newman's first movie score (the same one that he's been writing ever since, haha). I was surprised at how much of the movie had stayed with me, especially considering I was still living in Canada at the time and the ways of Americans were rather alien and mysterious.

Actually, since I moved to the US they've become even more so. Things that I used to think were wildly exaggerated or pure fantasy turn out to be simple fact. I had the same problem with "Inherit the Wind" - who could believe people could be that medieval in the 20th century? But now, 100 years later, they're all back again and more intransigent than ever.

I hope there are some anthropologists studying American religion, it's a unique phenomenon. Which has little or nothing to do with what I started out talking about, but ... bah.

eh...

Oct. 24th, 2005 05:36 am
sfwriter: (Default)
Grrrr....

*sigh*
sfwriter: (door)
So fed up with seeing that last one every time I pass by here! Unfortunately I have nothing to say about anything.

Let's see... hmm...

Ooh, a movie I've been waiting to see, "Good Night and Good Luck," just opened here! I haven't been this curious about a new film in years. I think I'll actually drag myself out to the theatre for this one. :D

Found a book by Mark Twain I hadn't read before (some of his minor essays, I've only read two or three of them), so I'm happily going through that, after just having re-read most of Jane Austen. When I read so much, it's a sure sign I'm not getting enough sleep; if I weren't tired I'd be writing instead of reading. Ah well. I guess if I don't start sleeping more I'll have to re-read George Eliot as well.

Following politics, warily. Things are not going very well for the criminal Bush administration at the moment, and a lot of liberal folks think it's great, watching the Republicans "implode," turning on each other like rabid dogs, some even coming close to admitting that they do know their godlike president is in fact a worthless, self-absorbed idiot. But the fact is that all the infighting doesn't prevent the right wing from doing pretty much as it pleases, and it says nothing about future stolen elections. Furthermore, the inept Democratic leadership is mentally and emotionally incapable of making use of the glorious opportunities being handed to it on a silver platter. Thus, the country still has no honest leadership, and still is in deep trouble. So I'm just waiting to see what develops.

And so what. The only thing I want is to finish this misbegotten chapter 13 of Piranha. I admit it, that's all I care about. Everything else is just distraction.

Guess I'll go see if I can sleep...
sfwriter: (Default)
Sorry I've disappeared, I've been sick. Still not better, but slowly recovering. At least I can work a little again.

Just wanted to say I haven't been ignoring anybody on purpose. I'll try to catch up with you later. :)
sfwriter: (eeeeegh)
Can somebody explain what in the hell is going on in this idiot Bush's tiny little brain?
Read more... )
sfwriter: (zouave)
(Sort of cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] silentbuster.)

I ran across this site a while ago and forgot about it, then rediscovered it today by chance. http://www.archive.org is an amazing place that preserves all kinds of material in the public domain or that people simply want to make available. It has bits of everything, from very old Edison silents taken from the Library of Congress paper prints, to music concerts, to a library of internet sites and old pages ("The Wayback Machine"), and tons of other materials.

It has hundreds, maybe even thousands, of rare oddities like 1950's "educational" shorts made to teach kiddies how to be socially acceptable by being average and how not to get killed on bicycles or opening cans. There are commercials, newsreels, film student projects, modern films by small filmmakers, and documentation on all kinds of historical matters, some of it very peculiar to modern eyes. Plus, it has downloadable or streamable versions of Buster's "The General" and "The Boat," as well as a number of other silent classics like "Nosferatu," "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," animations, and some public domain feature films from the sound era.

I tried downloading the Edison short (four minutes) from 1904, "Dog Factory." No music, but a surprisingly well preserved example of very early fantastic comedy. There are two advertising shorts by Max Fleischer (the genius who created Betty Boop and the earliest Popeye cartoons) explaining how to use telephones, and the brand-new medium of sound movies. If you poke around the Preminger Archives and the feature film section, you can find a lot of weird stuff.

Interesting place to waste far too much time. Just thought I'd pass it on.

Oh, yeah, and lots of Betty Boop, some of her best. Cab Calloway!!
sfwriter: (Default)
I posted this gif in a note on the [livejournal.com profile] silentbuster community, but it died over there and I can't put it back up - so I'm sticking it here for safekeeping. :D
Read more... )
sfwriter: (stuck)
Man, when I think, "Gee, I really need to update this journal," my next thought is, "but I have absolutely nothing to say about anything."

About the only stuff I have to talk about these days is either fragmentary ramblings on Buster Keaton, which go on the [livejournal.com profile] silentbuster journal, or crap about my own writing - and I have nothing new to say about that. Plus the occasional political post, but the less said about that the better.

Man, what do I do with my life?

Well, I guess I've been reading a bit here and there... working a lot... wasting too much time on the internet... *snore* And come to think about it, I should be asleep right now.

Deeply fascinating. It bores me, that's for sure. My life is remarkably uninteresting.

Eh, if I wasn't too tired, I'd be writing something fictional instead of blithering here. I'm not in a bad mood, just -- boring. So I'll try going to bed again. (Last attempt failed. XD) Got to get up and work soon! And I'd better get my act together and get more productive in areas I actually care about.
sfwriter: (Default)
My generous friend and fellow Keaton addict [livejournal.com profile] kixxa sent me a high-quality .avi file of a silent short film from 1917 by Buster Keaton and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, "The Cook." This film was lost for decades and only recently rediscovered and restored. It's not in Keaton's own style, but is full of the crazy, high-spirited antics he and Arbuckle always came up with (before they each went out to make movies on their own). Some wildly athletic dancing, goat carts, and a dog who chases people up ladders, among other things.

Anyhow, for anyone who'd like to see it, I've put it on a site where it can be downloaded. The download should be good until July 26 or 27 (depending where you are in the world). It's a huge file, so I split it into parts - just download all the pieces, click on the "exe" file, and it will put itself back together.

This download is offered as a public service to the curious and can be found here, with instructions. Feel free to help yourself. XD
sfwriter: (treadmill)
Well, that's it. I'm going to say it because I'm utterly fed up.

This country had already been sliding downhill for some time, but that decline got a big boost the day that the Bush administration took over back in 2000. Everything began to slide faster - the economy, public civility, irrationality in the media, everything.

Then after September 11, 2001, "9-11," the decline got rocket engines attached to it. Not because of the event itself, which was just another of thousands of terrorist attacks that have happened on this planet, but because of the so-called "government" pouncing to capitalize on the event and milk every atom of fear and propaganda they could out of it, which they are doing to this day. And now it isn't just the U.S. that's rocketing downhill, it's the world. Maybe that's not yet as obvious in some places.

The activities they're using that terrorist attack to justify have NOTHING do to with preventing or curing terrorism. They have to do with accelerating the control of faceless corporations over the economy, making the 1% of the richest people on earth even richer, further impoverishing the poor, destroying the middle class, in this country and elsewhere. They have to do with keeping the public in a state of hate, fear and turmoil using a nauseatingly corrupt and violently irresponsible media, so that the government has no difficulty pushing through laws that undo all the social progress of the 20th century, not to mention the personal freedoms that are supposedly what make the U.S. the flagship of democracy in the world. Well, perhaps it was once, but it isn't now.

Anything sane that would actually help protect the country from terrorism, which after all is an actual pre-existing danger that was deliberately ignored by the Bush administration before 9-11, despite warnings from the Clinton administration when it was handing over power, has had its funding repeatedly cut so that more tax breaks can go to corporations and the rich - things like firefighters, police, protecting our nearly unguarded ports, chemical plants, nuclear power plants, mass transit, and so on. Even this vile, criminal war in Iraq that the President couldn't wait to find an excuse for has been underfunded from the beginning, and parents are still having to raise money themselves to buy armor for their children who are out fighting it, and Iraq after three years of chaos still doesn't have clean water or reliable power, while literally billions of dollars vanish untraceably into the coffers of Halliburton and the Pentagon and god knows who.

The Bush administration is simply a bunch of pirates, nothing more, with no more concern than pirates have for human life or good governance; yet they are being permitted to destroy this country, not to mention the peace of the whole world. At least 100,000 Iraqis are dead because of George W. Bush's childish desire to be an avenging superhero and to pile up favours for his friends - not to mention the long-term imperialistic plans of a bunch of right-wing nut cases who were considered fringe-crazy even during the Reagan and Bush I administrations and who are now running the government. Well over 1800 American soldiers are dead - nobody really knows how many because they don't count them honestly - and tens of thousands grievously wounded. There is far more terrorism happening around the world since Bush's "War on Terrorism" was announced - much like the venerable "War on Drugs" which has kept illegal drugs flowing in quantities since it began its long and useless career. And I have no idea how many deaths there have been and continue to be in Afghanistan, which most Americans don't even realize is still an ongoing zone of combat. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is working on starting its next war, which apparently is going to be in Iran.

Aside from the true causes for the Bush wars, which have nothing to do with getting rid of terrorism, a "war" on terrorism is the most blatantly stupid and impractical idea possible. You might as well sit around slapping cockroaches and call that a war on cockroaches. It's entirely the wrong paradigm, and it's wrong entirely knowingly and deliberately. It's an evil concept in itself, and it's pure propaganda. The worst thing anybody could ever do would be to drop all constructive actions in the world to go haring off "fighting" a faceless, scattered, shifting, uncontainable enemy. But the idea satisfies, apparently, that crude American lust, so sickeningly fanned into flames by the media, for mindless revenge. Well, mindless revenge leads to endless vendettas; that is what the Bush climate is bringing into being. Any sensible person, if there are any left, can see that.

Americans do not know what is going on in their own country or the world; their media tells them almost nothing. That doesn't absolve them of responsibility, however, and it's not going to shield them from the penalties of ignoring their responsibilities. The Bush administration undoubtedly stole the last election, and they may well have committed other heinous crimes I don't want to get into. The Republican party will not ever give up power by simple legal means, now that after some 20 or 30 years of maneuvering they've finally got things the way they want them. We're being shoved back into the 19th century as fast as they can do it, and they won't be content until every legal, environmental, and social gain from Teddy Roosevelt on has been undone, and the Gilded Age of bloated capitalists and cheap, degraded labour has been re-established. They're even trying to destroy any science that doesn't agree with their political priorities. That's what I see happening. I'm not interested in economic theories, in capitalism, socialism, communism or any of that; but what's occurring is right there out in the open, easy to see.

There's a lot more, but that's quite enough. I can't believe that I ever lived to see this kind of madness all over again, after the convulsions the world endured all through the 20th century. It's just beyond belief.
sfwriter: (Default)
Haha, I got this from [livejournal.com profile] rampantplum - couldn't resist. I have a feeling this thing is supposed to create advertising popups though.

Reminds me of the good old days of playing Petz.

I seem to be naming everything "Fred" lately.



my pet!
sfwriter: (peershirt)
Whew - I don't know how or why, but after many attempts, deviantArt finally let me change my password and log back in. It wouldn't let me log in on my page, but only on the front page - but at least I'm in again. So now I can continue to ignore everybody there deliberately instead of unwillingly.

What a weird and alarming experience, sorry about all the fuss. (Goes back to check if she's really logged in.) :D
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