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MelornYeah, I’m trying to do one of those draw-something-every-day things.

Discovered today that the grayscale marker under-drawing really doesn’t work well with the Inktense over-painting. The shadows come out all desaturated — somehow the grayness of the ink overcomes the dissolved pigment on top of it. Weird. I had some inkling (yeah, yeah) of this after yesterday’s drawing, but today just confirms it.

Also realized that I just plain like inking. Laying down those blacks is just tactile joy.

And I had a minor realization about comics plotting — that of all the stuff going into a comic, plot is the least important, and it’s only my teenaged imprinting on strongly plotted SF stories that makes me think otherwise — but it hasn’t really come to anything.

Also finally listened to the legit release of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, and yes, it is different from the leaked release. (Do Brits wince slightly at “different from” like I do at “different to”? Good.) Not only are there two tracks on the legit disk that weren’t on the leaked one (and one on the leak that isn’t on the legit), the actual arrangements are different. So even if you’ve got the leaked album, it’s worth getting the legit one, especially since it’s currently on sale for $10 at Virgin.

And speaking of sales, Barnes & Noble is having an online post-holiday sale. I’d been waiting for Jaime Hernandez’s Ghost of Hoppers to come out in paperback, but the hardcover was on sale for just $5!

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Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 video for “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was the world’s first shojou manga music video. Seriously, you could probably redo 98% of it with footage out of Revolutionary Girl Utena.

(From a discussion on Making Light.)

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It was mashup night at the Pigeon Factory, and I was playing tracks from American Edit and A Night at the Hip-Hopera for [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen and [livejournal.com profile] akawil, and we somehow got around to the idea that Hitler would have really liked Queen (till he found out about the whole gay thing), what with their grand, operatic, Wagnerian over-the-top flair, and, y’know, if Freddy Mercury were still alive, they’d be the perfect choice for doing the soundtrack of a hypothetical movie version of Lord of the Swastika, or you could even use Queen songs as soundtrack for Leni Riefenstahl movies, only you’d get very, very sued, and hey, they didn’t film any of the Beerhall Putsch, did they, ’cause “We Will Rock You” would work perfectly for that, and sort of like that, conversation wise, just seeing how far we could push the idea.

Only, once you’re thinking along those lines, the lyrics to “A Kind of Magic” and “One Vision” suddenly become extremely creepy. “’39” too, a little, mostly because LadyM had, when she was younger, thought it was about WW2.

It was at that point that Wil discovered that the 1992 memorial concert in memory of Freddy Mercury was held on April 20th, Hitler’s birthday, and we figured that we’d better just drop the subject before anything else turned up.
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Busy day today. First, a life drawing session at Spring Street Studio; I need to do that more often. (Results posted over on [livejournal.com profile] sketchblogs.) From there I immediately wandered down to get more art supplies (a thinner sketchbook for everyday use, a pad of brown kraft paper and some black and white conté for the next life drawing session). I hoped to be able to pick up some foam rubber (for another project) at the industrial plastics store opposite Pearl Paint on Canal St, but (shock! horror!) it seems to have gone out of business.

Then I walked uptown to 6th St for [livejournal.com profile] drcpunk’s birthday dinner at Brick Lane Curry House (excellent food, a bit pricey), after which we went down to the Landmark Sunshine Theater to see Howl’s Moving Castle (subbed). The movie has a good beginning and a great middle, but Miyazaki indulges his weakness for fairy-tale endings even more than usual.

And I found a used copy of REM’s Monster for $3. Used CDs rock.
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So, out till 6:30 AM last night (Games Club, then Big Nick’s of the 28-page menu where our usual waitress pegged how many orders of garlic soup there’d be before half the group had even showed up), up at 4 PM today, felt somewhat crappy, but not nearly as much so as last week. An ibuprofen and some food and wandering about in the fresh air and (last remnants of) sunlight had me all perked up. Ground was closed, alas, don’t know what the deal is with that, but Basic is open till 11 PM, and has fresh lemonade. I think I could drink fresh lemonade all the damn time. Mmmm. And they were playing a Beck album, which reminded me to check if I’d ripped my copy of Mutations. I hadn’t, but I have now.

I finally found volume 2 of Planetes; they must have gotten some more in at Jim Hanley’s Universe. I’m in vol 3 now, and damn, this is a good series. If you’re looking for a manga series that isn’t all shrieking adolescents and stupid posturing, try this one.

And some sketches:
imaginary women

More sketches over at [livejournal.com profile] sketchblogs.

Sleep dep

Apr. 9th, 2005 10:31 pm
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Wow, I felt like utter crap this morn— no, this afternoon when I finally woke up. Staying up till 5 AM will do that, I guess, but no, this was even crappier than the usual day-after-five-ay-em feeling.

My first thought was that I’m just getting old, and need to stop staying out that late. Cue thoughts about leaving Games Club early, or skipping it altogether, followed by wondering what I’d need to do for a social life if I did that.

But no, actually, I’ve been sleeping badly all week, so I was probably just sleep deprived on top of the lateness. I realized a couple of days back that what I need to do is cut out the ginormous Starbucks iced coffees that I’d been having in afternoons to celebrate the arrival of spring. I’m demoting coffee to a before-noon drug from now on, except in cases of emergency or if I know I’m gonna wanna stay up late. Tea and cola should still be OK.

(Yeah, this turns out to be another one of those entries I write mostly for my own future reference.)

And I need to hunt through my Tom Waits albums to see if any of them has “Jockey Full of Bourbon” on it.
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Best political blog post of the month: “In Other News, the Check is In the Mail” by Jim Henley

Best browser add-on of the month: Destroy Target by Sergi Meseguer, which strips target="_blank" out of links. I’ve been wanting this since about ten minutes after Netscape introduced frames. First get Firefox, then install the Greasemonkey extension. You might also want to browse this collection of Greasemonkey user scripts.

Best music download of the month: CD-quality MP3 rip of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, which her label has been refusing to release for two years. “Promote the progress of science and useful arts” my ass.
Runner-up: “Sixteen Military Wives” video by The Decemberists.

Best new webcomic discovery of the month: [livejournal.com profile] normallife, who really needs to find herself a better image host.
Runner-up: No Rest for the Wicked by Andrea Peterson.

Coolest hack of the month: Using the motion detector in new PowerBooks to control iTunes by tilting the laptop. Makes me want a new PowerBook right now.
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My roommates were just listening to a filk concert being webcast live from Consonance. How long before we get live webcasts of open filking, and people listening from home (probably Tom Smith, typing so fast he melts his keyboard) compose new songs and email or IM them to people with laptops at the filk, who then perform them?

Abrupt subject change: Wouldn’t “Brother of Jared” be a great name for a Mormon rock band? Or maybe ex-Mormon.
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This past weekend was Hoboken’s Open Studios weekend. I was hoping to have a good tour of studios to make up for missing out on Jersey City’s art. And I did get to see some, but not much.

I stayed out late at Games Club Friday night, and woke up late Saturday. Then it was unpleasant and rainy, so I bailed and just hung out at Ground.

Got up pretty late on Sunday, too. Hoboken’s tour is pretty spread out. There is a cluster of artists at the Monroe Center, but proportionally it seems like things are more distributed up there. So all I got to see was the Center. Which was pretty good; it’s a more accomplished, professional crowd up there than down here. And they hold more studio shows on the first Sunday of each month, so maybe I’ll visit again.

I stayed past the last tour bus, and walked back down through Hoboken towards the PATH, stopping off at a coffee bar on Washington that was also showing paintings by local pop-artist Robert Piersanti. I tried out one of my new sketchpads sketching a woman who was doing her homework nearby. I had just looked through Ronnie Del Carmen’s and Enrico Casarosa’s Fragments a day or two before, and I was in the mood to play around with Casarosa’s Tombo-and-water-brush sketching technique, but the paper seems to be insufficiently absorbent to really make use of it.

Sketch of woman writing in coffee bar )

And I found a pretty good music store on Washington too. They file used CDs along with the new, so you can see a disk for, say $15, and then right next to it a used version of the same one for $5. And lots of reasonably-priced imports. I picked up The Very Best of Lou Reed and The Corrs’s In Blue.
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They Might Be Giants will be performing in Brooklyn at the end of July. Details over in [livejournal.com profile] nycsuspects.
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As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.
As I walked out on Laredo one day,
I spied old Saint Nic’las, wrapped in white linen,
Wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay.

“I can see by your outfit that you are a Santa.”
These words he did say as I boldly walked by.
“Come an’ sit down beside me an’ hear my sad story.
“I’m shaking like jelly an’ I know I must die.”

“It was once in the saddle, I used to go dashing.
“Once in the saddle, I used to go gay.
“First to the rooftop and then down the chimney.
“But I'm shot in the breast and I'm dying today.”

“Get eight flying reindeer to carry my coffin.
“Eight wee elf-maidens to bear up my pall.
“Stack bunches of toys on the top of my coffin.
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
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Twenty more-or-less random songs (I skipped over the instrumentals, and a couple I couldn’t find the lyrics to), identified in HTML comments, so if you get tired of guessing you can just use the magic source-viewing goggles you got for sending in three TITLE tags:

20 random songs )

Hm, something strips out the comment tags. Let me try this: <!-- COMMENT -->

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[ glaring rabbit ]The weather has been gorgeous this weekend; spring is finally here. I hadn’t realized that I’d been feeling down till suddenly I wasn’t anymore. (That’d make a crappy blues song.) I’ve been wasting lots of time in Ground listening to They’re Everywhere by Big Jim’s Ego and finishing Sethra Lavode by Steven Brust. And doing less sketching than I’d intended, but still a bit. And eating way too much crap.


Sethra Lavode was pretty entertaining, though I like the Vlad books better than the Paarfi books, and I want Brust to get back to telling us what happens at Valabar’s. The bit at the end, a discourse about gods and games and meeting Paarfi for the first time, is credited to “Ivan Sekély” who I’m 95% certain is John M. Ford, partly because Ivan is a cognate of John, but mostly because it’s about games, and because the Paarfi-like writing style is done even better than Brust does it.

[ woman with glasses ]I’m happy beyond all reason with how this woman’s hair came out. I think I’m finally getting the hang of highlights.
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Somewhere among all the myriad parallel universes and alternate timelines, there’s one where The Muppet Show was still being produced into the ’90s. Yesterday, during the CthulhuPunk game, someone from that universe got hold of a thought projector and inserted into my brain the video of Miss Piggy’s performance of Brittney Spears’s “(Hit Me) Baby One More Time”.
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Net music piracy 'does not harm record sales':

Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf monitored 680 albums, chosen from a range of musical genres, downloaded over 17 weeks in the second half of 2002. They used computer programs to automatically monitor downloads and compared this data to changes in album sales over the same period to see if a link could be established.

The most heavily downloaded songs showed no decrease in CD sales as a result of increasing downloads. In fact, albums that sold more than 600,000 copies during this period appeared to sell better when downloaded more heavily.
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Grrrr. Within a few minutes of starting to use it, my old Palm IIIx went into a circular-reboot crash, with the only way out being to wipe all the data. All the data that I’d spent two hours loading in last night. At least it happened while I was still at home, and hadn’t started actually keeping anything irreplaceable on it. Back to the dying Visor. The good news is that I may be able to afford a new Palm this month after all. And the Zire 71 is slightly smaller than the IIIx in all three dimensions, so I’ll probably be able to use my old Covertec Cobra PDA holder with it. (Covertec doesn’t make the Cobra anymore, and I can‘t tell if their new models have the same belt clip system that made the Cobra so great. Their new, annoying website mentions a “Fully movable ‘Wips’ System belt clip built into each case”, but doesn’t tell me what the fuck that means, or provide any pictures of it.) (OK, it looks like it’s something similar. Why the fuck did I have to go to another website to find a photo of Covertec’s main distinguishing feature?)

In other shopping difficulty news, I was unable to find any Jim’s Big Ego albums locally. Tried the Virgin Megastores at both Union and Times Squares, and a bunch of small shops on St Marks Place. Virgin’s got this new thing where you go to a kiosk and thump your finger on a “Search” button a bunch of times and no search screen appears; it’ll probably be all the rage among large, faceless retail establishments.
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I dunno, I’ve been kinda mopey recently, but today felt great. I know the exact moment it turned around: I was getting ready to do some shopping, and I wanted some music. I managed to find my CD player (which had been eluding me for several months), and I popped in Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia, and the moment the opening notes of “What It Is” hit my ears, I felt like all was right with the world. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] kent_allard_jr! It didn’t hurt that the day was sunny and (relatively) warm.

After shopping, I went to Ground. Chatted a bit with the cute new barrista. Coffee with Splenda is starting to taste good to me. Finished off the Jack Staff book, and man, that was just great. It’s like reading a British Astro City, but more condensed, with the stories all tightly packed and interwoven. And, as I mentioned, with a great sense of design. And that shaded-nose thing he goofs up in Kane? He gets it working in Jack Staff

I also read the second (and, I think, last) volume of FLCL. There’s an intriguing visual drive to it — that’s what attracted me to the book in the first place — but man, it’s just sloppy and incoherent on both the plot and storytelling levels. I hope the anime is better than the manga. The art seems cleaner, anyway.

And I did some sketching. )
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Bill Mahr has a new country-western musical number summing up how riled he is at Iraq:

The thing that makes me maddest are your freedom-hating proclivities,
And your weapons of mass destruction related program activites.
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I’ve just had my first guitar lesson, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen. I used her larger guitar (too big for her), while she showed me what to do on her smaller one. Just the basics so far, and three chords (E minor, A, and, um, D, I think). I can feel the numb spot on the tip of my middle finger that means it’s working up a blister or callus.

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