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thumbnailMan, this art stuff is hard.

I want to do a bunch of watercolors of various TV celebrities, and figured I’d start with Jon Hamm as Don Draper, and oof, my skills are rusty. Though actually, I don’t think I’ve ever really drawn a celebrity likeness that satisfied me.

Complicating matters is a new artistic technique I wanted to try out: Shaving bits of color off my Inktense pencils into a palette cup, adding water, and using a dip pen. This works, sorta, but I’m having a hard time getting the color density that I want. Also, my collection of pen nibs has vanished. I picked up some Japanese G-pen nibs at Books Kinokuniya yesterday, and they’re OK, but they only had the Tachikawa nibs in stock. I hear the Zebra nibs are a lot more flexible, and that’s what I need to get a thick, juicy line. (Just realizing now how much my tastes have changed since I was a kid, and I was all about the thin, controlled line.)

Anyway, Jon Hamm has some remarkably thick eyebrows on ’im.

Four views of Don Draper )
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I had a rockin’ time seeing the season opener of Battlestar Galactica at [livejournal.com profile] trinityvixen’s and [livejournal.com profile] feiran’s place Friday night. (I’ve got neither TiVO nor a VCR, so BSG is likely to interfere with my Games Club attendance for a bit.) Pizza and margaritas enhanced the experience.

It wasn’t till the next day that I noticed the episode’s title: “He That Believeth In Me”

For some reason, I really want the next ep to be titled “I Knoweth Not Just What He Seeseth In Me”. (No, not seeeth.)

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Just watched the first season of Heroes. Some thoughts:

Bulleted list behind cut -- could be spoilers, maybe )

In general, far too much of the plot is driven by the fact that the most powerful good guy is a moron. Still, I like most of the other characters.

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Has anyone else considered this?

LionDzur
Lamb???
Polar bearTsalmoth?
Walrus???
Salt marsh harvest mouseTeckla
Wildebeest???
Ant???
Worm-eating fernbirdHawk? Phoenix? Athyra?
Sea otterOrca?
Giant anacondaDragon? Yendi?
Kangaroo???
Sort of a cross between a frilled
lizard and a common house cat
Tiassa
Wild dingo???
EmuIssola?
Tapir???
FrogJhegaala
Golden retrieverLyorn

Here, some context for people too young to remember the first season of Saturday Night Live. (Scroll down to the third comment.) He names seventeen animals!

Westerns

Feb. 7th, 2007 02:00 am
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I’ve been watching lots of westerns on DVD recently. Once Upon a Time in the West for one, and the second season of Deadwood for another. And, um, that’s it. So maybe not a lot, but hey, it was a whole season of Deadwood. The mustache on this guy here was inspired by a photo of the historical Seth Bullock, hero of Deadwood.

Western scene

Once Upon a Time in the West is a classic spaghetti western by Sergio Leone, with Charles Bronson as a man with no name (but a different man with no name than the one Clint Eastwood played in other Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy) seeking revenge while he plays the movie’s background music on a harmonica. The harmonica is important, a hint about his secret past, the reason he wants revenge, and when that bit of backstory is revealed, it’s the cruelest damn thing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Henry Fonda is the villainous villain, in a great job of casting against type. Jason Robards is the less-villainous villain, the one we don’t mind cheering for.

Deadwood is fascinating to me for a few reasons. One, it’s all about power and law, and the establishment of law in an unlawful place. I’m always kinda fascinated by that. Another, it’s got a great main character in Al Swearengen. (You may think Seth, the hero, is the main character. You’d be wrong.) Just like in Once Upon a Time in the West, there are two villains (actually more, but two main ones), but Al’s the beating heart of the show, driving all the action, swindling and murdering and organizing, a joy to watch, an engine of swearing. Third, the dialog is fantastic. There’s a strong Shakespearean influence (If the Bard had been inordinately fond of the word “cocksucker”), with bits that sound like they might be iambic pentameter, lots of monologs, and bits of stage direction in the dialog. Here, a sample from the second season premiere, Al and his henchman Dan stand on Al’s balcony, watching telegraph poles being raised:

Al:
Invisible messages from invisible sources, or what some people think of as progress.
Dan:
Ain’t the heathens used smoke signals all through recorded history?
Al:
How’s that a fucking recommendation?
Dan:
Well, it seems to me like, you know, letters posted one person to another is just a slower version of the same idea.
Al:
When’s the last time you got a fucking letter from a stranger?
Dan:
Bad news about Pa.
Al:
Bad news! Or tries against our interests is our sole communications from strangers, so by all means, let’s plant poles all across the country, festoon the cocksucker with wires to hurry the sorry word and blinker our judgments of motive, huh?
Dan:
You’ve given it more thought than me.
Al:
Ain’t the state of things cloudy enough? Don’t we face enough fucking imponderables?
Dan:
Well, by God, you give the word, Al, and them poles will be kindling.

By the end of the second season, Al’s even wandering around talking to a severed head. The third (and final) season isn’t out on DVD yet. I don’t know what the holdup is.

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The funniest thing about this afternoon’s Mooninite-induced panic is that the billboards don’t actually look like bombs. Real bombs are hidden away inside innocuous-looking containers. The blinky lights and LEDs counting down to zero are artifacts of Hollywood dramas, a modern-day symbol of “bomb”, the cinematic equivalent of the shiny black sphere with a fuse sticking out that you see in cartoons.

The city of Boston was shut down today not because of devices that looked like bombs, but because of devices that looked like Hollywood fake representations of bombs.

avram: (Mooninite)
Isn’t it nice to know our government is keeping us safe from cartoon ads?
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Great Star Trek music video: White Rabbit (via [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid)

Torchwood

Nov. 19th, 2006 11:51 pm
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We just watched the first four episodes of Torchwood. Episode 4 was like a Heavy Metal cover come to life; perhaps a collaboration between Hajime Sorayama and Mœbius.

[livejournal.com profile] akawil raised a question that’s apparently been circulating on the net: How do you write slash fiction about a show where all of the main characters are bisexual?

Games Club

Nov. 11th, 2006 03:51 pm
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First up, there was Martian Coasters, since [livejournal.com profile] mnemex just got a copy. I hadn’t known it was out yet (so new, the Looneys haven’t even bothered to devote a page to it on their website), so I’ll pick up a set. We played a couple times, and it was fun, if kinda random. Then we played a game of regular Treehouse, which was even more random — the guy who spent the whole game unable to make any moves on his own pieces won with a couple of moves at the end.

Then a game of Hacienda, which was great. This is one of those complicated resource-management games that serious boardgamers like so much. I did decently in the first half with my one-big-chain tactic, but I’d neglected the rest of the board so much that I was largely shut out of the big scoring opportunities in the second half. The big winners were people who’d gone for a lot of markets.

Then I noticed a mancala set on the table, so [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana and I played a few games.

Then a bunch of us watched videos on YouTube. Y’know, The Daily Show used to be funnier than it is now. Too many of the current cast members are too willing to break character and go for cheap laughs. It was better with people like Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, who could play their parts with straight faces. Here, check out these clips of “Even Stehpven”, the show’s old parody of point-counterpoint acts.

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I’m ashamed of myself for not having noticed till today that Seinfeld owes a tremendous conceptual debt to Annie Hall.
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The ultimate geek video mashup: The “Camelot” musical number from Monty Python and the Holy Grail with clips from Star Trek. (Real Star Trek, not that Love Boat crap.) (Via [livejournal.com profile] scottbateman)

And if you don’t regularly watch The Venture Brothers, here’s a clip that combines supervillain henchery with classical music. And check out Mecha Shiva while you’re at it.
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Possibly the best, most awful LiveJournal thread ever: The James TipMe Flash Fan Fiction Good Taste Memorial Award.
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Last Week:
Rob Cordry’s “Racist Like Me” sketch on The Daily Show, 5 April 2006.

Yesterday:
Gregory S Baylor, director of the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom, quoted in the LA Times, 10 April 2006:

“Think how marginalized racists are. […] If we don’t address this now, it will only get worse.”

(news link via [livejournal.com profile] mister_wolf)

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For the artistically inclined in the NYC area: There’s gonna be a Sketchcrawl this Sunday, at the Museum of Natural History, starting at 11 AM, in the Hall of North American Mammals. Meet Enrico Casarosa and Danny Gregory.

And for the rest of you, watch this amazingly cool Xbox commercial that Microsoft decided not to use. (via [livejournal.com profile] cthulhia)

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