Saturday, April 30, 2005
Pre-emptive mockery
In which V. has ethical qualms about making fun of a film about a retarded person, even though that film is guaranteed to be hilariously bad.

Regarding tomorrow night's CBS film Riding The Bus With My Sister, as much as I am tempted to watch it and write it up for this blog, I really don't think I can bring myself to do it. Firstly, I'd have to actually watch it. Granted, the previews alone reek of unintentional humor. But I'm not sure that's enough to counteract the profound level of revulsion I feel towards Andie MacDowell. And towards Rosie, for that matter. Good lord. I mean, really. Have you guys seen Rosie O'Donnell's Blog? It reads like a second grade creative writing assignment. Or maybe crackhead haiku.

But anyway, I digress. Certainly I encourage all of you to watch this film, as I'm sure it will provide you and your loved ones with a healthy dose of cruel laughter. Also, I think Eli summed it up beautifully a few days ago when he mentioned to me that Rosie's character brought to mind the time Cartman tried out for the Special Olympics.

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How the #@%! should I know? I'm retarded. DURRR!

Remarkably apt, really. But I think I'll just stop there.
Friday, April 29, 2005
School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon (AP).

We have just made a complete departure from reality.
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is Bob.

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Give me back my garmonbozia.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
OMFG WTF part 2
First the news about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and now this:

Maggots. In the ears. Dear god. (Reuters)
Not like it's any of my business, but Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are dating (AP). And possibly having sexual sex.

It just kind of seems like there'd be a balance of power issue there. Also: I sure hope she's keen on Scientology...
Violent Organ Thievery
In which a good time is had by all.

I've just seen this Hong Kong film called Koma. It was a psychological thriller, and was exceptionally good by HK standards. The vast, vast majority of HK horror films I've seen have been completely over-the-top, nonsensical stories with comedic levels of gore and the lowest production values possible. I have seen no fewer than three HK films wherein a restaurant proprietor kills one or more persons and serves them in said restaurant, usually in the form of burgers. This always (always) culminates in the mad killer serving up a big plate of cannibal burgers to the police, and then while they're all talking about how delicious it is, the mad killer is obligated to scream "HAHAHA! YOU'RE ALL EATING HUMAN MEAT BUNS!!"

I'm not kidding about this.

But Koma, this was a different sort of film. It was quite stylishly filmed, and full of the bizarre plot twists and turns that Asian horror films are known for. I really enjoyed this, and I'd recommend it. And since I know that a few of the people who read this blog might actually get to see Koma, I won't give away too many details.

Here's a quick synopsis: you have this girl Ching. Ching has kidney failure. She desperately needs a new kidney, but she has a rare blood type. She is wealthy and popular, and very much in love with her surgeon boyfriend Wei.

Meanwhile, someone is stealing kidneys. It's a string of murders. Ching stumbles across one of the victims one night in a hotel. She sees a mysterious figure, and later identifies her in a police lineup. The mystery woman is Ling (yeah, yeah, I know... Ching and Ling, ha ha).

Turns out, Ling has been having sexual sex with Ching's boyfriend Wei. Everything goes all freaky here... Ling is insanely jealous of Ching. Wei is only having sex with Ling because Ching is too ill to be sexually active. He slaps Ling around and calls her bitch while they're having sexual sex. Ling stalks Ching, and menacingly threatens to steal her kidneys.

I won't say much more that this, because some of the plot twists are genuinely surprising, and I don't want to rob anyone of the experience of seeing this film. It was similar in a lot of ways to a Korean thriller called Tell Me Something, which I have been known to sing the praises of.

I rented this at the local Hollywood Video, which has rather a lot of Asian horror titles, so I can't imagine it would be terribly difficult for anyone to track down if they're interested. And as a general rule, Asian horror is a genre that more people really should explore. There's some genuinely scary and disturbing stuff there, and the subject matter is a lot more grim than most American horror films.

Right, then. Two reviews in an afternoon. How industrious of me.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
In which V. discusses, as requested, a movie that was mostly pretty good.

Right, so, I watched this Bridget Jones sequel yesterday afternoon. I quite enjoyed the original book and film, and marginally enjoyed the second book, so I thought I'd give this film a go. Besides, a girl can only see so many films featuring entrails and geysers of blood before she just really needs a break.

A note about the second Bridget Jones novel: I read this a while back, I think maybe last summer. The whole time I was reading it, I couldn't shake the impression that Miss Fielding wasn't writing a novel so much as a screenplay. I knew that she knew it was going to be adapted for the screen, and I think she formulated the plot with that in mind. It was still a decent read, just not as... I dunno, what's the word I'm looking for? Fresh? Engaging? Good?

So, having read the novel, I knew exactly what to expect from this film. If you've seen the first Bridget Jones movie, this was more of the same, really. Enter bumbling and ridiculous yet ordinary and likeable main character. Put her in numerous humiliating situations, have her deal with things in such a way that 99% of the free female population will identify with her. Throw in a couple of hot lads for good measure. Fun times.

There were a couple of scenes thrown in that were utterly stupid and without merit, which seem to have been included as comedic filler. I found this kind of tedious. For example, Bridget and Mark Darcy go on a skiing holiday. This does remarkably little to further the plot. It's just another excuse for Renee Zellweger to prove to us that she isn't afraid to make an ass of herself. Naturally, Bridget cannot ski. Therefore, obviously the only possible outcome of this situation is to have her hurtling downhill at full speed, screaming like a little bitch. Really, not at all funny.

Also, she ends up in a Thai prison. Again, not really funny, and this was one of the problems I had with the novel... it just seemed too cute. I was mildly amused by the way the Thai girls pronounced her name (Bee-shit), and also mildly amused (despite my rational knowledge that it was a really crap scene) by the Thai prison girls all singing and dancing to "Like a Virgin" but pronouncing it "Like a Wurgin". I am probably going to hell for being amused by cultural stereotypes.

Ultimately, though, who can resist Colin Firth? Hugh Grant isn't exactly hard on the eyes, either. And there's another completely feeble fistfight between those two characters. And even if Bridget Jones is maybe a little too hapless and ridiculous, I can't help being able to relate to her a little bit. The vast majority of films, even romantic comedies, portray the female leads as graceful, beautiful creatures with perfect skin and hair and a size zero ass. This is not realism. Real women, like Bridget Jones, seldom have perfect skin or hair or bodies, sometimes trip over their own feet, and quite often say embarrassing things in unfortunate situations.

So yeah, it was cute. Good fun, pleasant diversion and all of that.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
An observation
I think the guy at the video rental place is slightly afraid of me.

Some background: I rent a lot of videos. By "a lot" I mean, like, constantly. I have this sweet deal where I pay $15 a month and get unlimited rentals. And I mean, unlimited. So I'm in there two, three times a week. And I always get the same guy. He's around my age, maybe early 30s. Glasses, quiet, polite. And I sincerely think I worry him.

Thing is, I rent an absolute shitload of horror films. But I also rent a fair amount of embarassing silly girl movies. And I think Video Guy has trouble reconciling this.

Like today, I rented the Bridget Jones sequel, and also a lurid Hong Kong film about violent organ thievery. He looked down at my two films, and then looked back up at me like he was thinking "what kind of monster ARE you?!". He kind of took a step back and said "um... thanks... due back Sunday..."

Weird. Kids these days, I swear.

Also, here's something I was wondering about whilst listening to a mix CD earlier today: would Enya still be as good if they didn't run her voice through, like, three dozen echo filters? Hell, I'd probably sound all mystical and enchanting if I had producers to run my voice through three dozen echo filters. Hmm.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Oh fuck.
An important reminder
In which V. urges you to surrender two hours of your life.

CBS is airing the spectacular original film Locusts tonight at 9:00 EST. Be there or be square. It is my understanding that these are bio-engineered carnivorous locusts. I fail to see how this film can be anything short of brilliant. So: watch it. Embrace it. Make it a part of you. And then we can all make cruel, cruel fun of it.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
This is some bullshit
In which V. is amazed at the stupidity of some people.

I was browsing through the news just now, and found something appalling. See for yourself: Fairy Tales Linked To Violent Relationships (AFP)

The hell? I'm sorry, but I think this is a real stretch. Practically every woman heard or read fairy tales as a child, and we certainly aren't all starring in our own personal Lifetime Original Movies. That's like saying "children who drink milk grow up stupid." It's a completely daft thing to suggest.

Maybe it depends on which fairy tales you grow up with. I mean, admittedly, Disney is screwed up. They present to the world beautiful princesses with flowing hair and impossibly tiny waists. Kinda like Barbie... fun, sure. But not really the best or most realistic role models for a little girl to cling to.

I grew up on fairy tales. And I'm not talkin' Disney. I had a big fat book of original Grimm's. These weren't stories about weak, codependent princesses. These were stories in which naughty children were carried off by trolls. Dwarves did not whistle while they worked, they were fucking sinister. Occasionally a baby would be replaced by a demonic changeling, or made to die because its mother didn't keep her end of a bargain. Cinderella's stepsisters carved off parts of their own feet to make the slipper fit. I found this enthralling.

Did these stories set me up to be a victim? Pffft. More like, they set me up to be an eight year old goth who spent her free time trying to make the boy next to her in homeroom vomit. Me? A victim? I don't take no shit off nobody. And I have logged YEARS of reading fairy tales.

It's really amazing what people will take seriously.
I've got good news.
In which that gum you like is coming back in style.*

No, seriously. Good news: I've been offered an inking position on one of the comics I did test pages for. They like my style and the way I conduct myself, and that's a huge compliment. I'm happier than I can possibly express... inking comics is what I was born to do, and this is the first step towards doing it full-time.

I don't have a lot of information on the book yet, I just know that it's 22 pages and already has a publisher. I'll fill in the rest of the details as I get them. Rock.

*Bonus points if you understand this reference.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Codename V. takes the afternoon off
In which tough decisions must be made.

So, this afternoon I can either clean out my closet, or go see the remake of The Amityville Horror. Let's see... hard labor, or...

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The possessed axe murderer is a bit of all right. The cinema it is, then.
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is the paperboy from Better Off Dead.

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I want my two dollars.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
In which V. has added some new stuff. Yeah.

Some new additions today, whee.

Put a new thingy in the sidebar there, to my Audioscrobbler page. It makes a list of what music I play and keeps track of what I play most. This information will probably lead to varying degrees of dismay amongst my friends, who all generally seem to think that my taste in music is rather suspect.

Also, put some new scans in my Illustrations gallery. And started a new gallery, scans from my art school sketchbook, c. 1995-1999 or thereabouts. This is probably interesting only to me, and I'm doing it mostly to preserve my older stuff for posterity... things are starting to bleed through the paper and get discolored and generally fall apart. And twenty years from now, I might feel like looking back on it. It's mostly crude sketches of skulls and devils, with the occasional "kill kill kill" and "die die" scribbled in the margins. I don't seem to have changed all that much...
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I am absolutely stunned
In which V. is absolutely stunned.

Upon realizing that it was getting a bit late and I'd not yet eaten my dinner, I decided to try some of this Momo's Veggie Fish that I bought at the supermarket last week.

I've been a vegetarian for ten years now, maybe a little longer. And let me tell you, as delicious as a lot of these fake meats are, they don't usually taste like The Real Thing. Veggie hot dogs are pretty spot-on. But honestly, most of the time it's just a question of "what flavor texturized vegetable protein do I feel like eating today?"

So I got out my fake fish. It was extremely oily. Like, extremely. I had to wash my hands in my grease-cutting dishwashing liquid to get it all off. Apparently this stuff is something crazy like 67% fat. But I barely eat any fat at all, and besides this is some kind of special omega fat or something that's supposed to make your skin healthier. So I figure, no harm done.

Easily cooked. Microwaved for 45 seconds. OMFG. This stuff tastes exactly like fish. It even has that flaky fish texture. I was so freaked out that I had to collect the packaging from the rubbish bin and double-check the ingredients. Yep, this is vegan. The geniuses at Momo's have managed to take soy, algae, and seaweed and make it taste like fish. Delicious. Greasy, but delicious. I should have had chips with it.
That eye thing
Yeah, okay. There's some warped game of eye tag going around, and it seems to be my turn. So, look deeply into my eyes, and I will try to control your brain.

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Do you suddenly feel compelled to paypal me hundreds of dollars? No? Ah well, it was worth a try.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Some minor progress
There's nothing like an hour of Bikram Yoga to renew a girl's ambition.

After four days of staring at the Batman guy's penciling close-up, I'm thinking that it's maybe a little less tight than I originally thought it to be. I mean, okay... one's choice of inker can really make or break your project. But an inker can only do so much with marginal pencils. This guy has some stuff that looks great in grayscale, but once I do my thing on it, his subtle nuances in pencil work are invisible. This is one of my pet peeves with pencilers. I am an inker, dudes. I see the world in black and white. Black and white are all I've got, yo. Don't be throwing me intricately shaded work and expect me to be able to render it. There are many, many shades of grey, but last time I checked there was only one black. Also: ink is not transparent. If you want layers of shit going on, get yourself a good colorist.

But I digress. Yeah. This guy's stuff looks pretty great in pencil. But then I start working on it, and I realize, he's depending a lot on grayscale to get his perspective across. Ain't gonna work. I begin to wonder exactly how experienced this guy is. Or if maybe more established inkers refuse to work with him because he's a dumbass. I really don't know. I mean, homey can draw, sure. But I'm not convinced that he really grasps this "ink" concept.

So okay. Here are the second and third panels as penciled by the well-meaning but oblivious grayscale guy. Observe poor Robin being menaced by Bane. In the next couple of panels, Bane launches that car he was holding in Panel 1 at some poor woman who is holding a bag of groceries. These pencils look pretty good. But upon closer inspection (which you can't see in the scans) homeboy is really relying very heavily on his delicately layered shades of pencil. Especially on Robin's figure on the left there.

And here are the panels after I've had my wicked way with them. Note how flat things are starting to look. This isn't my fault. I inked over what I had. I begin to doubt this dude's sense of perspective. But hey, I've been looking at this stuff very closely for four days with barely a break at all. And when I say very closely, I mean my eyes are inches from the page. The more we look at stuff, the more flaws kind of leap out.

And this stuff is considerably larger at this stage than it will be when printed. So maybe things that look like huge giant uglies now (stop sign, anyone?) will not be as noticeable when reduced to normal everyday comic-book size. Also: flip through any comic and you'll notice that the artwork is not always Super Genius Quality. Most of the effort goes into the focal point, and things in the periphery are more loosely sketched in.

In the panel on the left there, I'm not really sure what the focal point is meant to be. Homey kind of lost me on that one. You'd think he could do a bit better on that closeup of Bane, but oh well.

I realize that I am rambling. But as this has consumed my entire life (and continues to do so) for the past few days, it's really all I have to talk about.

Rant and/or critical analysis of dude's penciling is now over.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
I've always had my suspicions...
But here is incontrovertible proof.

Superman is a dick.

For the curious
So yeah, I've been working on this test page, hoping to land a job working on a published comic. This guy sent me a page of really, really tight pencils, and before I can ink over it I have to trace over his work using a lightbox. Basically this means I'm re-penciling it before I can get started. Like I said, these pencils are really, really tight with a shitload of detail, and it's taking me roughly three times as long to pencil it as it takes me to actually do the inking.

Which is tedious, and more than a little annoying. But I am more than happy to push myself to the point of mental exhaustion and possible insanity, because I want this. If I were inclined to have children, I'd offer up my firstborn for a job in the comics industry. But I am not inclined to have children. I wonder if they'd settle for one of my dogs, instead...

Anyway. Yeah. Test page. I've got a panel scanned in. I know there are some people out there who will want to see this... Eli will, I'm sure. And I promised Badcandle before-and-afters.

These are moderately large. Well, too large to post directly here, as it would totally ass up my blog layout. So here are some links:

This is the panel as penciled by the guy who sent it to me.

And this is the panel as I have traced and inked it.

Note: I had to reduce the original considerably (as sent it was something fucking insane like 17 by 25 inches, and I had to scale it down to 11 by 17 just to print it out). Scaling down really diminishes the amount of fine detail one can easily see and draw. Also: tracing never produces anything as good as the original. Yes, I'm making excuses. But I think I did a good enough job tracing the guy's pencils to be able to ink it accurately.

Also: is it just me, or do that guy's stop sign and mailbox kinda suck? I mean, mad props on cranking out an awesome Bane. He's deffo studied up on his anatomy and whatnot. But, dude. That stop sign makes me wanna cry, and not in an "I'm so moved by its beauty" kind of way. But hey, this mofo draws Batman, who am I to make fun of his stop sign.

But yeah, there it is.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
In which V. takes a break from a solid day of inking a particularly challenging test page to ask...

Why? For the love of god and all that is holy, WHY?!

Some genius thought it would be a good idea to turn 'The Wedding Singer' into a Broadway musical. As much as I enjoyed the film, this just does not seem necessary.

Nor does this: some other genius thought it would be a good idea to do the same thing with 'Legally Blonde'. According to the cheap gossip magazine I bought at the supermarket this afternoon, Jessica Simpson is in talks to star.

The mind reels. It positively boggles.

No wonder they say Americans have no culture.
Friday, April 15, 2005
In the news today, Whale-Dolphin Hybrid Has Baby Wholphin (AP).

I wonder if it has four asses...
Five things I totally heart this week
1. Sin City
I saw this film yesterday. OMFG, it was beautiful. I was a film student AND an art student, and Sin City fully embraces both crafts. I read somewhere that Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller used the actual graphic novels as storyboards. This is how it needs to be done, people.

When making film adaptations of comics, the filmmakers need to remember that this story has already been told. It already has a fan-base. You can never improve on what the writer and artist (and dare I say inker) have already done. Don't try to. Cast actors who are appropriate for the role, do not cast big Hollywood names because you think they add box office appeal. Halle Berry may be an attractive woman, but she's no Storm. But I digress (as I often do).

Sin City was brilliant, just fucking brilliant. You'll all go see it, and you'll like it, because I said so. Also: Mickey Rourke delivers what may well be the most awesome comeback performance in the history of film. Badass, y'all. Bad. Ass.

2. Sonic
In these crazy times, what would we do without the sweet, sweet nectar that is the Sonic Orange Slush?

3. The Killers
I just don't get tired of these guys.

4. That Ebola Mold Disease that was on CSI last night
Did anyone see last night's CSI? When the coroner was doing the autopsy on the dead bodybuilder, and poked him in the eye and the eye collapsed and this black sludgy stuff came out? That was AWESOME! It was some kind of mold that makes all your face bones deteriorate. AWESOME!!

Apparently it grows on human tissue, which Dead Bodybuilder had in his air ducts from when he killed a dirty whore. This is a relief to me, as I'm positive that I don't have any dead bodies in my air ducts. I bury them all in my neighbor's yard.

5. Freaky dreams
Aren't these fun? It's like going to sleep and getting to watch Swedish art films in your own head. Last night I dreamt that a serial killer was trying to drive me insane, by abducting people and making it my responsibility to find them before he did them in. If I told the police or anyone else, he'd kill the victims immediately. I was doing pretty well, until he abducted this one girl. I was given a bloodhound to track her with. We were going through some woods (the bloodhound and I) when the dog lost the scent. I panicked. This girl was going to die, all because I'd somehow gotten involved in the killer's twisted game. The killer started hanging around my house and videotaping me through the windows. I freaked out and phoned my mom and begged her to come home, but she didn't believe me.

I wish I could remember more, it was pretty awesome.

Blogger WTF moment of the day: Blogger spell check suggests I replace OMFG with WOMBS.
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is Damien.

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Your mother was a jackal and she dresses you funny.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
OMFG!!!1! It's the END TIMES!!!111!!
In which V. wonders when we stopped having miniseries, and started having TELEVISION EVENTS.

Okay, so. I watched this here Revelations show event. I was expecting it to be crap, and crap it was. A few notes, though: the effects, so far, have been decent (not great, but decent, especially for a shitty TV movie event). Some of the acting is decent. The plot, however...

The first thing I noticed about Revelations was that We The Viewers were shown about a gazillion locations around the world in the first two minutes. Yes, two minutes. I took note. There were subtitles, date/time stamps, all the stuff that I'm used to seeing on X-Files episodes that let you know where people are and what you're looking at. All of this was presented in a way that suggested all seven or eight hundred locations were of DIRE IMPORTANCE. Five minutes into this bullshit, and I'm already lost.

I mean, dang. We have characters on a plane. Characters in Mexico. Characters on the ocean. Characters in college. Characters in an airport. Some of them are the same characters. I don't know any more. My head is spinning. I'm pretty sure We The Viewers are going to be expected to remember these important details later, in which case I am doomed. Dooooomed.

So it starts out with Gimli from Sliders. He's some sort of professor, and he's giving a rambling Nova-esque lecture about the big bang and creation and god and What Does It All Mean, Anyway? We are shown a rambling Cops-esque montage of people beating up on one another.

Switch to this Massey bloke (Bill Pullman) on an airplane with some Satanic Dude who killed Massey's daughter and removed her heart for sacrificial purposes. They taunt each other. Creepy Satan Man seems to stop some turbulence using MYSTERIOUS VOODOO or some shit. Ooo.

Switch again! Look! Mexico! People in Mexico ride the bus! Whaaa?

Switch! Airport! Revelations really keeps you on your toes with the rapid-fire scene changes. Massey has arrived home, presumably from Creepy Satan Man's trial. It all seems to be a huge media spectacle. I'm 99.9% certain that during this scene I heard "Paging passenger Aleister Crowley," but it's entirely possible that this program event was already sucking so badly that my subconscious mind started making its own fun.

Switch! It's the ocean! There's a boat! And subtitles! By the time I'd gotten my head around the rapid scene change, the subtitles had gone and I completely missed what they said. Like I really care, anyway.

Switch! Back to Mexico! The mofoing opening credits haven't even run yet! There's some miraculous manifestation of the crucifixion on some big rock. This is crystal fucking clear, but this nun lady feels obligated to narrate the whole scene for everyone. Look! It's Jesus! He's... he's... turning his head!! Thanks, Sister Obvious.

Switch! It's Gimli from Sliders! Hi, Gimli! What are you talking about? Fuck if I know.

Switch! It's the ocean! OMFG, y'all! There's a baby in the ocean. Why? I don't care!

Now, finally, the opening credits roll. After a tedious set of adverts in which we are advised that erections lasting longer than four hours (while rare) are serious and require medical treatment, the "plot" of this "film" "event" slowly starts to take form.

Some trampy little girl with a bad attitude sasses a bit at her redneck dad. She's going to be late for school. Inexplicably, her route to school involves walking through a golf course. Um, yeah, sure. There's a storm a-brewin'. In lieu of a normal raincoat and/or umbrella, she's sporting one of those clear plastic $3 ponchos that people buy at outdoor sporting events. WHY?! Anyway, she gets hit by lightning. I found this scene nearly as hilarious as that scene in Pet Sematary when Gage got hit by the truck. They both got knocked out of their shoes. Fun times.

Insert a lot of tedious Bill Pullman crap here. My attention drifted towards the throw rug in front of my television. It has stripes, and fourteen of them are purple. If Revelations had been more interesting, I wouldn't know this bit of fascinating trivia as normally I have better things to do than count the stripes on my rug.

Back to Poncho Girl. Poncho Girl is now braindead coma girl. Her redneck dad is all keen to have her pronounced dead so he can sell off her organs. Ahh, parental love. But look! She's speaking Latin and stuff! Sister Obvious arrives on the scene just as Coma Girl freaks out and has a bout of automatic writing. What does she write? I don't care! But it looks like a tic-tac-toe grid.

Oh wait, it's a map. To this incredibly tedious and boring Massey bloke. Bill Pullman can be more entertaining than this, I know it. He has some rambling conversation with Sister Obvious. There are twenty green stripes on my rug. I think maybe they threaten to stalk each other.

Bill Pullman and Gimli give a lecture. What the hell do these people teach? It seems like some weird kind of God vs. Science smackdown.

Bill Pullman goes home and Googles Sister Obvious. She had a sister who was maybe part of a suicide cult. I really don't know for sure. My rug has stripes in two shades of blue.

Switch! Damn, I thought they had given up on the sudden and alarming scene changes. Bill Pullman goes to visit Creepy Satan Man in prison. He's totally batshit crazy. OR IS HE? Maybe he really does have Mysterious Voodoo. He launches into some kind of bizarro rant about how he doesn't bleed. Then he uses the food slot in his cell door to slice off one of his fingers. It doesn't bleed! OMFG!!!1

We find out that Coma Girl's map included some picture of a donkey that Bill Pullman's dead sacrificial daughter used to draw for him all the time. He seems to think it's special but really it's a crude drawing and nothing to brag about. This makes him decide to go investigate things.

Sister Obvious meets him at the airport. She is ALL THE TIME quoting scriptures. It's really freakin' annoying. Bill Pullman thinks so, too. He goes to the hospital where he finds out that Coma Girl has dental fillings lodged in her brain, and that the doctors are all scoffing at the nun.

Switch! We're in a church! There's some kind of freaky hand-touching ceremony going on for the ocean baby.

Switch! Back to the hospital. Sister Obvious has a scripture for everything. Maybe she'll get hit by lightning next. She makes some comment about Bill Pullman's daughter's heart, which really crosses the line. I mean, rude. Damn.

It's the exciting conclusion of this week's episode! Coma Girl's heart stops, and then starts again! This seems to happen only so that they can make some stupid resurrection reference. Then they showed previews for next week's episode, but I fancied some toast with jam and wandered away.

What profound lessons did I take away from this? Well, I know that tonight's Law And Order was the biggest Law And Order of the year - and NOT because of the murder!
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Wow. Just... fucking wow.
Today has been a day of much celebration and joy here at Codename V.

I've been approached by not one but TWO holy crap, as of this morning THREE mother of god, they just keep rolling in FOUR independent comics publishers who have "heard great things" about me and "would love to see more samples" of my work. Fuck yeah! That's what I'm talking about, bitch!

So I decided I'd stop being slack, and take some time to scan in some of my recent work. The problem: I haven't used my scanner since I re-installed Windows back in December. Drivers, yo. I need drivers. Do I have drivers? No. I thought I had them, saved off in the folder I use for saving useful things that I may need later. Like drivers. But the drivers were not there.

So I did a Google search. Once you get up to page five or six, things start getting weird. So weird, in fact, that I am completely in awe. Have a look for yourself:

Umax astra 1220p scaner umax vista astra 4500. massage equipment wiccan. "Your dad?" he asked. lyrics to trina credit score. "It's ok Beth," brother Joe said speed racer as he smiled at the young girl. ... Better yet why don't you ask drivers for scanner umax him out ...
And another:
... could hear water humming through the clannad pipes, indicating the shower was umax astra 1220p scsi running ... My balls started umax astra 1220p astra 1200s drivers tingling again as ...
Or perhaps...
Umax astra 1220p 1220p driver umax astra 2400s. Jon leaned down to give her a kiss. scanner umax 2200. "I do believe she liked that." dagger kayak Samson remarked to Gabriel. ... free downloads I rolled the foreskin back and began to umax astra 1220s astra 1220p drivers kiss and lick the cockhead ...

The internet is totally awesome, is it not?
Monday, April 11, 2005
Codename V is forced to answer questions of a vaguely intellectual sort
In which Eli has put V. in a tight spot.

Bearing in mind that 90% of my leisure reading consists of comics and horror novels, I'll do my level best here.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
WTF does this mean? What book, in general, would I like to be? What banned book? Taken literally, what book would I like be whilst I am meeting my unfortunate end in flames? What book would I like to become a part of?

That last option seems the most interesting. My first instinct would be Emma, as it's my favorite girly story, and one I never tire of. But last fall I saw this TV show in England called "Regency House" wherein they had some young people spend a month living as Regency young people actually would. The girls washed their hair in egg yolk. That, amongst other things, makes me think perhaps no.

Oooh, oooh. I maybe wouldn't mind living in The Great Gatsby, as long as I wasn't one of the principal characters whose lives got completely ruined. Yes, I think I would enjoy the Jazz Age.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Hasn't everyone? My biggie is going to be John Constantine. Follow that with Mr. Darcy (I think he must make every woman swoon), and then maybe... um... hell, I dunno. The Dread Pirate Roberts? I'm just making this stuff up over here.

The last book you bought is:
Buy? People buy books? I get them from the library, usually. Or borrow them from like-minded friends. Technically the last book I actually personally paid money for was the frigging DaVinci Code, bought completely out of desperation for something to read during a ten hour flight. I thought it was complete crap. People seem to have built some sort of cult following around this book. People are dumbasses. It's fiction, geez. And completely mundane and pedestrian fiction, at that. Soon to be a major motion picture from Ron Howard. Not exactly quality, that Ron Howard.

The last book you read:
A very good informative & helpful book about anatomy drawing for comic book artists. I don't recall the exact title offhand, it was something like "Anatomy Drawing For Comic Book Artists".

If you're talking fiction, I read a book called Bethany's Sin by Robert McCammon. Horror novel. Lurid, entertaining.

What are you currently reading?
Not a damn thing at present. Disappointing, I know. I don't even know what I feel like reading next.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
Perfume, by Patrick Suskind. It's my favorite book of all time. Very gruesome, shocking, appalling, all of that good stuff. It's about perfume, but not in a happy "smells like flowers" way. More like "a deranged psycho distills the essence of young virgins" kind of way.

Kafka's The Metamorphosis, And The Stranger by Camus. My second and third favorite books. I really really like existentialism. What are you gonna do about it?

Lolita. Nabokov. Fourth favorite book. Lurid. Dirty. Beautiful

The Shining, Stephen King. I'm seriously hard to scare. Films sometimes can creep me out. Books never do. This is the one exception. This book is some warped nightmarish fucked up shit. Scares the absolute hell out of me. Stephen King writes a lot of crap, that's for sure. But dude. The Shining. Dude.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons)? And Why?
What happens if I don't? Will it make Baby Jesus cry?

Am I done now? May I be excused?
A portrait of the artist as a young freak
My mom has been cleaning out the garage lately, and has unearthed a variety of ancient artifacts. This morning, she brought to my attention a story I wrote when I was nine years old.

I was always something of a Wednesday Addams kind of child. Very odd, slightly gothic. My little schoolmates were a bit wary of me. I gave a presentation of the cannibal scene from Robinson Crusoe in the sixth grade complete with bones and fake blood. Two girls vomited on the spot. It gave me a real sense of accomplishment.

Anyway, this untitled short story is proof of just how weird I was. Remember, I was nine. Nine.

Once upon a time, a man named Hank sat in a chair in a small room waiting. He did not know what he was waiting for, but he knew he must wait. You see, this is your key - your key to "THE DOOR TO FICTION!"

Hank had been waiting for many centuries, since 1301. A strange person had told him to wait. He had given Hank a key and said not to use it until he didn't want to live any more. He had then led Hank into a large building that was smaller on the inside than it was when Hank looked in. Then it came, the thing Hank was waiting for. He did not know it was there, he just felt its presence. Hank unlocked the one door in the building and died.

In retrospect, perhaps "Hank" isn't an historically accurate name for someone who was around in 1301. Or maybe it is, I really don't know. But there you have it.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Today must be Weird Science Day or something.
First there was the story about the world's oldest particle, and now this:

Hole Drilled to Bottom of Earth's Crust, Breakthrough to Mantle Looms

You know, I saw a film like this once. It didn't end well. I mean, WTF? Is it just me, or should this just frigging TOP the list of Seriously Bad Ideas??

The following articles, linked to in the original story, do not inspire confidence:

Earth as a Giant Pinball Machine
Ancient Impact Turned Part of Earth Inside-Out
Mission Proposed to Earth's Core

You'll have to excuse me, I think I've just had a complete break from reality...
Or does the water get him instead? Nobody knows, 4.4 billion year old particle man...
Maybe I'm just not geek enough to see the appeal here, but lining up to look at a microscopic speck of something through a microscope just isn't my idea of a swinging weekend. Article here.

However, I am geek enough to call up the people who are lining up for Star Wars. No link provided, because if you don't already know what I'm talking about, you're beyond help. Yes, everything you've heard is true. They are in fact answering the payphone. They're tired of talking to reporters, and like it when people call at night, because they "want to keep the party going". I spoke briefly to a charming bloke named Justin, who seemed to be having a great time. You too can call the Star Wars Line: (323) 462-9609. They're there until May, be nice and make a new friend.
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is Mike Tyson.

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Old school, yo.
Random things I am generally not hearting lately
In which V. has had a spectacularly bad week, and feels like lodging a few complaints.

1. Blogger
It's eating posts. It's eating comments. It's not loading with any degree of reliability. Claims of "performance enhancements" and suggestions regarding one's cookie cache are laughable. I call shenanigans.

2. Tori Amos
I used to love Tori Amos. What the hell has happened to her in recent years? I just saw her latest video, some crap about sleeping with butterflies. She is starting to look a bit like a plasticine version of Faye Dunaway. Even worse, I think she's lost her edge. Tori Amos used to be so angry. Angry at god. Angry at men. Angry at pretty girls. Angry at anger. Her music was like a scream of defiance in the face of conformity. I respected that, I understood that. It was something I could really embrace.

Now, she seems to be singing pretty pop songs. Not that there's anything wrong with pretty pop songs, but they aren't the reason I ever bought a Tori Amos CD.

I think she maybe jumped the shark when she had her kid. I remember shortly thereafter, she put out some album of cover songs. She said she felt that those songs were misogynistic or some shit, and she wanted to tell those stories from a woman's point of view. And then she proceeded to cover "Time" by Tom Waits which broke one of Codename V.'s Cardinal Rules: you just don't cover Tom Waits. It ain't gonna work out for you.

Furthermore, I don't see how anyone in their right mind could interpret that song (or any of T.W.'s music) as being misogynistic. I think that was the moment for me when Tori Amos stopped being an angry crusader I could respect, and started being someone I now view as a deluded and bitter old bitch.

Harsh, but someone had to say it.

3. Reruns
I gotta wait three weeks for new Lost? Y'all kill off Boone and show me some preview that implies that Locke dies as well, and then you make me wait three weeks for it? Fuck y'all.

4.People who hit cyclists with trucks, nearly killing them, and then drive away.
This happened a week ago to someone I love very much. They're okay. Bruised and sore and pissed off, but okay. They're lucky to be alive, though, and I'm lucky to still have them around. Whoever is responsible for this has a massive karmic debt to pay off.

5. Spring Break
I can't go anywhere this week without having to wade through crowds of aimless teenagers. Or worse, hyperactive children who run about in the Old Navy as if it were their own personal playground. If these are your children, please, find them something constructive to do. Give them chores, help them develop a hobby. I'm no expert on parenting, but I can pretty much guarantee you that hanging around the mall aimlessly never did any teenager any good.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Codename V has high praise for The Exorcist 4
In which V. is slightly disturbed by reviewing a great film about demonic possession when the Pope has just died and stuff.

Slightly disturbed, but here we go anyway. I've just seen Exorcist: The Beginning. Considering that it was co-written by Caleb Carr, author of two of the best crime novels I've ever read, and starred Stellan Skarsgård, an actor I have intense admiration for... there's really no way I could dislike this film. It was great. Really great.

Here's an admission: I thought the original Exorcist was hilarious. I've seen it many times, starting when I was around ten years old, and I've never been even remotely creeped out by it. I suspect this is probably because I generally dismiss deity-based religion as mythology. It's one of those things that's only scary if you genuinely believe (even if only on some small level) that you yourself might actually be possessed by something evil.

The Exorcist II was just crap. And I think it's pretty much universally recognized as crap.

The Exorcist III was creepy as hell, and really didn't have anything much at all to do with the first two films. It was awesome, and the real shame is that hardly anyone ever bothers to see it. I give part three the Codename V. Stamp of Approval. But I'm getting off topic a little... really I just wanted to give some background on how generally unimpressed I am with these films.

Not part four, though. This one was genuinely gripping. It's a prequel. You've got your Stellan Skarsgård as Father Merrin (the Max von Sydow role in the original film). This is a man with personal demons galore. He abandoned the priesthood after all the horrible vile stuff he saw the Nazis do during the war. Now he's an archaeologist, and he's been asked to participate in a very special dig.

In a nutshell: in a small African village, an ancient church has been discovered buried in the sand. This is a mystery, because it dates way way way back before Christianity ever arrived in Africa. Who built it? Why? These are answers that we must know.

Merrin is asked to look for a particular relic, which is some stone thing in the form of a demon. This is when the creepy stuff starts happening.

This isn't going to be one of those reviews where I give you a cynical play-by-play of everything that happens. I only do that with the bad films. This is one that I think people should actually see, and going into a lot of detail would just spoil it for you. So I'll keep things vague.

Bad things happen to a lot of people in this film. But one of the things I really liked about it was that it didn't show "evil" as explicitly a supernatural force. Evil might be supernatural at times, sure. But evil is also (both in the real world and within the context of this film) a very human response to things. The main characters here are all haunted by things they have seen or done in their past. They have all been deeply affected by very human evils. I appreciate that the film gives us this ambiguity. As someone who thinks the devil is a fairy tale, it was a lot creepier for me seeing how completely fucking scary and badwrong HUMAN evil can be.

I also think that perhaps their already having been psychologically damaged by human evil made them a bit more receptive to the devil. Fragile people are always good targets for possession. Well, at least this is true based on the dozens of horror films I've seen on the topic...

Here's something else: one of the things I personally find most disturbing in horror films is when people move in ways that people just shouldn't be moving. Good examples of this would be in Jacob's Ladder when that guy's head starts shaking waaay too fast. Or in The Ring (Japanese version, natch) when Sadako crawls out of the well. Or that infamous spider-walk scene in the director's cut of the original Exorcist. Shit like that really does my head in. Badwrong! Anyway, towards the end of Part 4, there's quite a bit of that sort of thing. Some of it is pretty cheesy CGI, but the bulk of it is just plain old creepy. Again, the Codename V. Stamp of Approval.

More random praise for the devil film: in the original Exorcist, there were a few scenes with some subliminal stuff going on - faces, etc. that you could see in the background if you looked closely enough. I found at least one instance of this in Part 4. Fun times, yo.

So, yeah. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Friday Baddie Blogging
This week's baddie is Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.

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Get the fuck off my obstacle.