Archive for October, 2004

random song lyrics fail me

October 30, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

One hundred thousand.

That’s the civilian death toll from the invasion of Iraq, according to a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins — here’re some Google News links.

And Bush staunchly declared, during the presidential debates, that the world is “better off” for this having happened?

One hundred thousand civilians.

Please, get this partisan election over with so someone can resolve what is by now a painfully obvious mess… and then the world can grieve properly over this tragedy.

Dawn breaks, like a bull through the hall

October 28, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

(“New Slang,” The Shins)

The Red Sox have won the World Series, and I’m sure if you cared you could find all kinds of exhilarating commentary on Google News. What a win!

I got my news from ESPN.com’s front page, which started its blurb with “Yes, it happened in your lifetime,” wholly appropriate because it’s been their first win since 1918.

However, it did remind me of the friend who introduced me to baseball — I went over to his place often in the summer of 2002 because he lived virtually next door and had a really nice apartment, whereas my draw group and I lived in a complete sty with almost no furniture. Also, I went over to play truly ridiculous amounts of poker (sometimes till 4am, so I only got to work in time for lunch the next day), during which his TV was always showing baseball. A couple of months later, the group of them dragged me to my first baseball game (A’s vs. the White Sox?), then everything upped and moved so quickly and I graduated and now the Red Sox have finally won the world series, but it was never in my friend’s lifetime because he left us a little under a year ago.

Take care, Choate, wherever you’ve moved on to.

To fall in love and fall in debt

October 27, 2004  |  Tags: ,   |  

Aaaaagh!

Price: US$499 (40GB) or US$599 (60GB). Aaaaaaagh!

Apt title appropriated from “Jesus of Suburbia” from the latest Green Day album.

“The Brotherhood of… Those who shall inherit the Earth. Yes.”

October 25, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

I’m quite certain (or hoping really hard, depending on how much of a desperate fanboy I want to portray myself as) that quote in the title was Neil Gaiman’s little dig at The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Marvel 1602 [amazon link] Written by Neil Gaiman Art by Andy Kubert, colours by Richard Isanove Covers by Scott McKowen

Neil Gaiman (graphic novel series Sandman, novels American Gods, Neverwhere, Good Omens with Terry Pratchett) gives us his first major take on super-heroes and the Marvel Universe, home to fountains of summer movie cash like Spider-man and X-Men. Instead of taking them on in the modern (read as: convoluted to the point of nonsensicality — Gwen Stacy did what with the Green Goblin?! Damn you, J Michael Straczynshoweveryouspellit!) Marvel Universe, the characters are transplanted to the year 1602. Strange weather signals the end of the world, random Marvel characters appear in random places, the Queen is murdered, and general hilarity ensues.

Despite a relatively simple plot (“general hilarity”), Marvel 1602 gave this reader plenty of “holy crap” moments — none of which I should spoil — evoking that elusive yet deeply satisfying comicbook-reading experience in the reader: a sense of wonder. That combination of thrill and amazement when you realise what the writer’s got for you next, making you grin from ear to ear, and/or grasp the book gripped by every panel and every word balloon? Spades of it in the last three chapters, after a slow start.

Gaiman writes in his afterword that he’d intended for the graphic novel to be “something for the summer, to be read under a porch or in a treehouse; or up on a roof; or in a small field, a long time ago, beside the bulrush patch.” Despite being denied such luxuries by this country’s vicious version of urban sprawl (and every day being a nasty summer), I can see what he’s getting at. While unsurprisingly engrossing to this reader who grew up on a steady diet on superhero comicbooks, the book as an overall read was just the right amount of magic that Gaiman deftly applies to his works.

I realise I haven’t mentioned much about the art, so… I’m really not a big fan of Andy Kubert. I hated his work when it was inked by others, and I can vaguely tolerate his straight-to-colouring pencils here (which I assume is the case; nonetheless, Isanove did a stellar job on the colouring). But it works, and I really enjoyed the book, and I can’t say too much after having said all that above.

I also realise this is the second of two graphic novel recommendations I’ve used the word “transplant” in. Hmm.

“we don’t care what music you kids love, as long as you have music to love”

October 21, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Comics recommendations. If I know you (and you can return things in one piece, or thereabouts), email me if you want to borrow anything I recommend.

Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero [amazon link] Written by Jen Van Meter Art by Bryan Lee O’Malley (with Chynna Clugston-Major, Terry Dodson, Catherine Norrie, Christine Norrie and Andi Watson) Published by Oni Press

Teen romance comedy graphic novel, featuring the titular family (Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage are the Brit rock-star parents to a vaguely dysfunctional cross-Atlantic transplant family) from the first Hopeless Savages volume — which, though entertaining, left less space for the reader to breathe through all the hunt-down-our-parents’-kidnappers shenanigans; further, I’ve already lost track of this sentence. Talk about needing to breathe.

Plot gist: Zero (youngest daughter) realises Ginger (likable nerd boy at school) has held quite the candle for her since childhood, but his reticence precludes any action on his feelings. Cue dramatic speech which I shall reproduce in full because it touched (or pressed rather hard on, if I do have to admit) a nerve in this reader:

“I don’t want to be the nice guy you hang out with while you repair the damage done to your self-image by egotistical thugs who wildly underestimate your worth. I don’t want your head on my shoulder while you tell me what a great friend I am, so sensitive, just like a brother. I don’t want to have to act happy for you when you go off with some charismatic idiot who – at best – thinks you’re an ordinary girl… and not the treasure I know you to be. I don’t want to look at you wistfully every so often, but never dare admit I’ve been wild about you since first grade because it would complicate your life and ruin the friendship. I’ve seen it. I don’t want it. Sorry.”

… ow. After her shock, Zero considers her feelings, but isn’t allowed to date and gets grounded (hence the clever, clever title — I really only just found this out). The series takes place against the backdrop of an Osbournes-esque filming of the family’s daily activities and doesn’t come up short on drama, teen angst nor things being blown up. And revenge on nasty producer-type, yay!

O’Malley’s art is describable as “squished and cartoony,” but is a lot more dynamic than Norrie’s was in the first volume. The latter, with other guest artists (Chynna Clugston-Major of Blue Monday fame! Yay!), flesh out the family’s backstories, most notably Twitch Strummer’s own lost romance — a great gay character, and a great gay character’s love story, though probably just in comparison to the nonsense out there in the comics world (Northstar? bleh).

Very much classic British punk fun, and who can resist that “music you love” quote?

held the world in your arms

October 21, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

In the realm of “holy shit how did they do that,” the Red Sox just beat the Yankees after being down 0-3 in the best-of-7 series.

Holy shit, how did they do that?!

USB Sushi

October 19, 2004  |  Tags: ,   |  

Oh man. USB sushi drives!

usb sushi

Imagine taking one of these out of your backpack and sticking it in the office computer — screw the iMac G5, this is definitely the most ridiculously awesome invention of the year.

ridiculous

October 18, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Two ridiculous things before I sleep.

A*Star’s Yearbook, an excerpt [a-star.edu.sg]

I suppose I’m a bit late on this, what with the whole online kerfuffle about Jiahao’s most recent railing against the essence of a*star as captured in that yearbook (Google search on the issue). But I only just downloaded and read the yearbook excerpt in question, and I’m quite lost for words over the abject absurdity of the whole thing (and He Who Must Not Be Named).

And just when I thought that was enough, I came across this link for what can only be described as very positive thinking:

Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs

… it could well be a horribly morbid joke, but I fear it’s real.

Ow, my poor head.

a photo

October 18, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Picture from Christine’s wedding, courtesy of TG. Where the hell was Murph? And Erin?

Christine's wedding

Good to see (most of) the old drawgroup again.

jon stewart bitchslaps crossfire

October 17, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

In a nutshell: wow.

In a slightly larger nutshell: Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show (which I’m a big fan of etc.), appeared on CNN’s Crosstalk, and proceeded to slam the hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala (who are Kerry campaign advisers, I believe) on live television for, in his words, having a show “so bad it’s hurting America,” “partisan hackery,” and being hacks.

Some exchanges:

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing… is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably. CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think. STEWART: You need to go to one.

and

STEWART: It’s not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery…. CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery? […] STEWART: You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?

Full transcript here [CNN.com], or watch for yourself with this torrent [bitflood.org].

I haven’t actually been exposed to all these vapid political debate shows (if they could be called such), but major credit to Stewart for standing firm on what he believes to be a real problem, and not being afraid to call out the perpetrators on national television.

Maybe one day a concerned citizen could, in Singapore and on national television, honestly criticise what’s wrong with — ah, let’s not go that far. Watch the video and be glad someone somewhere is getting something right.