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It's crap. >:-|
So no sooner than :iconseverflame: is reporting DA problems, and my machine starts having DA issues. But checking around I was having everything issues. No pages could completely load. Tumblr was getting problematic with all those moving GIF's. I was noticing lately my video speeds where getting iffy too. I tried disable/enabling my network adapter, and then power cycling my machine. But no use. When none of the above help, it's always been a sign my router or cable modem transceiver is about to fail. I just replaced my router, so I rebooted the "modem", it's actually not a modulator/demodulator, but the acronym sticks to this day. And yup, now it was dead.

Comcast was bugging me to upgrade my equipment last year anyway so I this eventing I went out and got some super duper DOCSYS 3.0 modem. Seriously, it's great to have a Best Buy nearby. No Amazon on this purchace! >_< I don't mind buying from Best Buy for the type of things I know they carry. I bought my Chromebook there.

My upload/download speeds are hobbled anyway but now at least everything loads again and videos are happy. My old modem was at end-of-life and my guess, is that it was at end-of-service as well! Quitting on July 1 is awfully suspicious. I'd check my mail, but I haven't re-set that up so I can't access my archive to see if they said they were going to shut me down. ^_^; But I didn't even need to call Comcast to get the new gear running! Now that's improved service! I've been lucky and had good service from Comcast all these years on my internet access.

But, all that said, the new standard DOCSYS 3.0 IS pretty spiffy, and my modem is shiney new, with a tiny wall wart that runs cool, so now everyone should be happy.

Wow, I'm really on an upgrade tear this year! New MOBO (Ivy Bridge I5), new server case for my server, (well that was last year, but close), new WIFI router, Windows 8, new video monitor switcher (share my monitor with my linux box), new mouse, my left hand mouse died a couple weeks ago and now new modem. I killed my Linux machine last week fiddling with the power and scrambled my solid state drive. I'm going to install Mint this time. I'll post up my report on Win 8 soon and talk about my Linux machine too I'm sure.

I really can't complain much, that modem lasted somewhere around 5 years I think! Anything over 2 is good by me. My gear was getting up there. Not XP aged but up there. Now, my beautiful red ball wired Logitech track ball mouse is showing signs of imminent failure. I can't drag and drop windows anymore. Click hold bounces and drops the window. Sigh. I really need a wired mouse to work with my monitor switch. Wireless devices don't work well with those things. Maybe I can spray the dust out of it? >_<

Also, my home server is obsolete and need looking into. I hear MS Small Business Server Essentials has a built in domain controller! That has serious lustability!
Getting close! First one to catch it gets a sketch!

.edit :

Well the closest catch goes to :iconmkbuster: with 100,001. But as I draw a fair amount of "Ryu-chan", I'd like to award an image to :icontwogadia: as well.

Thanks for viewing!
Yesterday I got tagged by 


You know the drill: rules you can't break, yadda yadda, tag a shit load of other people, yadda yadda, and etc.

5 Things about myself: 1-5, boooooring!


Kitsra's Questions:

1) Favorite thing about your day today?

My favoritest thing of any day is my first cup of coffee! I'm lucky since it's a cheap luxury. I have an electric water pot and a french press. So it's quite a ritual, especially when I've added grinding the whole coffee beans myself. Other than that, I revived a plant I transplanted in my yard by watering it mercilessly. It was a big triumph because I paid 5 bucks for it last year and didn't want to kill it! >_<

2) Any major fears that i should know about?

Well, I suppose there's a hierarchy of fears there. But the big one is: fear of failure! Combat this with education. I'm a huge fan of continual improvement. Be aggressive, it's a mean 'ol world out there!

3) If you were stuck in an elevator with your rival for life for two days, how would you react/what would you do?

Probably glare at them the whole time. I suppose I could face the wall too. It's totally unexpected behavior for anyone.

4) What're you doing right now? besides writing this, ya smart-ass.

Well, I should be drawing! Actually, I've got a today's page of "Dragonaur Mini" all inked and ready to color! I'd better get to it!

5) Single best book you've ever read.

"The Player of Games" by Ian Banks! I love his "culture" novels. But Player, I've read many, many times. I was so sad Banks passed away last year. I need to find a new author to start reading. Any suggestions?
I don't think I've had a gift crossover comic since :iconquadmanx:'s comics with Veronika. And that was some time ago. But :iconflintofmother3: just made one!…

So cool! So professional. Check out his DA. It's loaded with all manner of comics and fun. Much of it translated too.

Be sure to check out my Macoatl comics too!……
A definite drop in divinations of late. It all started with a busy weekend. I had to front load a bunch of work for my weekend comic. Then when I got back, I was a little sick. I must have picked up something. Then, I caught that virus worse than anything: Windows 8!

Heh, I am in the care of an ailing Win 8 machine. Being the resident Windows guru, you get asked these things. In the process of attempting to heal this machine I paved it 3 times and brought it up to Win 8.1. I mean if you're going forward you'd better keep doing it. However, still is ailing and so just before sending it back for service (thankfully it's still under warranty) I decided to attempt to back it up on my home server. Big mistake!!!

Win 8.1 the abomination that it is, is not compatible with Windows Home Server!! So being the forward thinking type I thought to put a patch (2781272) on my server to "upgrade" it. It's a risky move. The pursuit of knowledge is always risky! The result was that it completely slagged my backup capabilities! You should have seen all the red lights lighting up my server dashboard!

Fortunately, I'm bold enough to repave my server too! After much gnashing of teeth and swearing, I went back to an image the day before. And after a few backup false starts, I'm back in business. Say what you will about Win 8. Home Server 2011 is a great product! I wish they'd keep working on it.

Bottom line is Windows 8 is a disaster FROM ALL ANGLES! The UI is a disaster, it doesn't integrate with other windows products (aka Home Server 2011), and new hardware bought with it is just as jinxed! Thanks Lenovo. I sincerely hope Satya Nadella can get M$'s act together because that little fiasco simply has reinforced the issue that I won't be upgrading any of my machines to Win 8 anytime soon!


There is a little sub story here... I lent out my Chromebook in the meantime while I work on the laptop! The Chromebook is able to lift 90% of the load the Windows machine did! Just a few lame "this website is not compatible with your version of chrome" messages, because the site is looking at the underlying OS and getting cold feet! And no Skype compatibility (thanks Microsoft).  >_< I knew Skype was doomed the moment M$ bought them out. What happened to that SERVICES part of the devices and services mantra? Wouldn't that be interesting if M$ created a ARM tablet running Android? One can conjecture!

Ah, I miss my Chromebook! It's the only laptop I've ever owned. It's such a hardworking little machine, I love it! Clearly not for everything, but it does do so much!
Well, in an unusual situation I've decided to clear out a bunch of deviants I used to watch. Seems like May 2012 is the average last post by many artists. Now, a lot of these guys (and women) are pretty good. But they seem to just stop posting on DA. On the one hand, many of the arts I would see where way beyond the kind of stuff I would see anywhere except the cover page of most comic books. So why post on DA for free? I can't help but think it's also related to the "I'm a pro artist and I get paid for my work thing" too. I'm not taking any sides in particular (in this essay). It just feels like the bulk of art I see is commissions. I think it makes sense since at first DA is all new and everyone wants to be seen. But then work sets in and there's less time for freebies.

Personally, I think/thought DA was a great place for a amateur like me to post my stuff and felt that all these pro's posting art were sucking the oxygen out of the room! So on the one hand you'd think I'd be happier, but on the other hand most of the people look like they are aggregating towards the popular artists and everything else is dying on the vine anyway. The practical upshot is that I'm going to be seeing less varied art in the future! ^_^; It was always a slog to go thru the piles of books in the comic book store.

The moral to this little essay is that I feel that the free subscription model to viewing art by artist seems to be breaking down. These days, I tend to crawl the "fave" galleries of people that favorite my art! I think I should give the tumblr model a try. Or perhaps I'll have to search art more than I used to. So what do you think? Do things seem fine to you? Things changing? Are you changing your approach to this place?
Totally cool. A little all over the map compared to the original, and I was worried Gru might be a bad parent but in the end, it all works out.

"Lipstick Taser!!"
80,000 views coming up. First to send me a screen capture showing the 80,000 page views number, wins a sketch! (subject to approved subject matter). 

Last time I had a kiriban, two people sent me a screencap of the same number! Did someone cheat? No telling! My guess is that DA's counting system is spread across many servers and it takes awhile to consolidate counts! But please be honest!

I want to take this moment to thank my watchers and those who've stopped by and had a look in my gallery. At this rate, I'm never going to make a million views, but it's always been satisfying to see that my art is getting a look, especially given the extreme competition for views that exists here and elsewhere on the web! There is such a glut of insanely great artists out there!

I'm sure I can make 100,000. But I'm going to have to roll up my sleeves, up my game, and get drawing! 

Thanks for visiting!

.edit And gone! I guess 80,000 when out to one of those strangers in the night who come, shrug their shoulders and then disappear!
I'm a bit behind the times. I know we're all supposed to be writing about Superman. But I just saw Iron Man 3 and thought it was great. I'll have to draw Carla in an Iron Man style suit. I just need to finish my muscular Xara drawing binge first! ^_^;
So I've been in the mood to get some new gadget for some sort of mobility. The choices are endless. Should I go tablet which is all the rage? Should I get an iPod like device? Laptop? With all the Windows 8 brew ha ha, it turns out the choice was at least 70% easier than I thought it would be.

Any Windows 8 device was right out.

Now I must admit I was very interested in those Win RT Arm devices. Unfortunately, they're running Windows 8! Yeah, yeah they all say you need to use Win 8 for awhile and then you'll get used to it. You don't like it now, but trust us, you'll like it later! It's like settling for second best. Not really what you were wanting. They're hoping Windows "Blue" will help solve that problem. But I just can't bring myself to it. I had the consumer preview Win 8 and I hated it. I keep going into the stores and trying it, and I hate it. I think it comes down to two things:

1) I want to know what I have running with a single "gesture". And I'm not talking task manager.

2) I want to be able to kill a program easily.

3) Ha! And a number of other things, like power down easily, Normal menus. Mouse aware hover. Normal capitalization in menus, that list goes on and on.

I keep hoping they'll fix things up but I think I'll just have to hang out until June to see what they do. Probably not much. It's their "big bet" oohhh woooahhh!

So no, I didn't get a Windows tablet, or any other tablet. I still wanted a keyboard. Writing small emails or journal entries and etc is way better with a keyboard. Of course, browsing was going to be first and foremost and tablets do that well. I could always get an iPad with an accessory keyboard, but Steve Job's vision of web browsing is weird. Now with all the web standards it shouldn't be a problem, browsing on a different platform. But there's always the legacy Flash issue. Tho' to be fair it seems I'm encountering Flash less and less.

But wanting a keyboard also eliminated the Android tables too. I just felt tablet + keyboard = clunky. Why not just get a laptop. It won't fall apart like the new dynamic duo.

And lastly there's price. I've always been way price sensitive. I mean, I've gotten along without a laptop/tablet/cellphone for my entire life up to now! The price points seemed too high before. But that was before Windows 8 and the whole PC imploding thing! Now prices are getting very competitive!

So what did I get? Why a Chromebook! Chromebook does 90% of what I wanted a mobile solution for. It can't play native games. But that's a non-starter. I have zero interest in mobile gaming. It can't do Skype. That's a bummer. But not the end of the world. It's like the Windows 8 thing and being second best. If I've got to settle for second best at least I'll do it on a $250 priced laptop! Wow! There's even a $199 Acer Chromebook but that's  a Celeron and that's a lame processor. So I took a chance and bought the Samsung.

It's an amazing device! So right now I'm typing this article using my Atom 230 Zotac Mobo with Linux Mint. And the Chromebook easily out performs this system. It plays video extremely well, and feels every bit as good as my Phenom Quad Core main desktop! It's 11 inch screen is perfect for mobile browsing and whole package looks like a Macbook Pro! No surprise since Samsung is getting it's ptuties sued by Apple! Personally I'd like sculpted keys. But there's a lot to like about the machine. Great battery life. Wifi works really well. Multi-touch pad. It's light and very thin. It's like an Ultra book without the ultra price!

Now there's no way a Chromebook can replace a standard desktop. Linux or Windows. For development, I like Visual Studio and you're not running that on a Chromebook. Or any other native development system. I have seen a few web based solutions, but I'm not ready for that. But it's a great kitchen machine and travel mate. Hell now that I'm so in love with my mobile device I'll probably get a tablet. I'd love it for home automation projects. But the Chromebook got me started. It was a small "bet" that payed off nicely!

It's also a gateway drug to all the other Google services. Like Google Play where I'm putting my music these days. And Google drive, where the shopping list goes, so I can access it anywhere. I'll set up Google Voice (or hangouts as it's called today) at some point.

So I highly recommend Samsung Chromebook. 99.9% of you probably have a Cellphone and so the voice communications issue is probably not an issue. And if you don't need games in particular which 99.9% of you probably do, the Chromebook is a great second machine. Again, it's not going to be a main machine. I still have my desktop for that. It's my morning coffee browsing machine and mail companion. It's an amazing machine at an amazing price. Foolproof and easy to use, unlike my Linux Mint setup. But that's a different journal entry!

Well the Emerald City Comic Con was pretty much a bust for me. I have NEVER waited more than about 15-30 minutes in a line to get in to see a show. It took 1-1/2 hours in a line that literally would go around the convention twice if that were the path it took. It was actually more circuitous. And I lucked out that I bought my ticket online a week before. That was a first as well. Turns out Sat and Sun were sold out. Friday tickets were limited. I might not have gotten in if I tried to get a ticket at the door!

At least once inside it didn't seem more packed than usual. Tho' the entire convention center was servicing the 'con this year. I did see Brad Guigar who's comic "Evil Inc" I enjoy reading on the web. I got his "Annual Report No. 7" and he drew a fun sketch of Dr. Muskiday inside. I must draw a sketch of Muskiday sometime. Muskiday had a fun adventure recently.

Else wise I got a copy of "The Adventures of the 19XX" by Paul Martinez. A sort of WWI era adventure that fascinated me because of the era flighing machines I am fond of and a bit of magic in the story line. I don't know much about the artist but his display was the only story and character combo that seemed to interest me other than Brad's comic which I specifically know about. There was a time during the big comics renaissance in the 80's when I could find really wonderful different concepts that interested me. Now much less so.

Many comics seem like the twisted ravings of a sick mind. Horror-ish or standoff-ish cool people having cool adventures. Many copyright infringing artists doing Marvel-DC-Capcom-Pokemon commissions. Muscle man vigilantes. Boom comics had a HUGE display. I don't know much about their stuff and wasn't too interested in what I saw. Dark horse was there but I never made it to their counter. I like to stay in artist alley in general anyway.

"Modest Medusa" was there with Jake Richmond but unfortunately some dude was in front of the display yacking about himself to somebody else and I got distracted and wandered off. Else, I didn't see anyone I knew of from DA or elsewhere! Wow! That's just plain weird! I'm used to seeing loads of DA people you see here and there. Now it seems like it's only the hard core 'con circuit types there. The same kind of people you see at the farmers market in the summer each year. I always thought it would be fun to get a table, but they're way too professional for me to fit in there now. I think I'll have to set up some web offerings at some time if I want to try pushing any swag at some time.

Ran into :iconjhwood9: Jeff at the con with his "Pseudo Comics" display. He had a "SnowBuni" compilation that was fun, also included a short story drawn by Ben Dunn! How about that for only $4.00 and if you ask nicely he'd give you a discount. ^_^

So all in all it wasn't a TOTAL bust but it was somewhat a letdown from previous years. Might be the beginning of the end for me and EEEC. I'll have to check out Sakura-con perhaps.  I haven't been to that one since 2003! But I'll need to be REALLY prepared for long lines on that one. That one can be a mad house as well. So all in all it might be the end of con's for me in general now that they have hit the main stream. Or I'm just getting old and it's not as exciting as it used to be. Which is most likely the case. ^_^;
So I thought I'd just add a quick blurb on Win 8. Given Win 8 is due out in a day or two here's the quick report on my personal impression. I was lucky to have a little box to spare, so I dropped my SUSE Linux from there and popped on the consumer preview of Win 8...

Pluses: Fast!

It felt very smooth. Perhaps fast is not correct. But it was very smooth. I had it on a small solid state drive (you know I love those things) and opening programs and using the tool was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed Media Center even tho' I think it's hopelessly obsolete. I actually love the REMOVAL of Aero which I always thought was useless GPU time wasting fluff.

Minuses: UI (that's User Interface for those of you not into jargon).

Yes, you've heard it. No start button. Weird fancy hand jive required to even shut down the machine. (that is ignoring the power button if your new fangled machine has one!) Now the Metro stuff is fun. I'm sure that it'll be great on some brain dead small screen tablet. But c'mon! This is the one place I spend a little bit of money and that's on my hardware and Win 8 just under utilizes my screen real estate.

Worse is I can't seem to find the window border adjustment in the old desktop world. I can't even customize my desktop anymore! First thing I do when I get a new installation is bump the borders to a fat 5 or 6 whatever the units are. I do not like the standard ONE PIXEL border you guys seem to love. But that's gone. Not only did they remove my start button so I have to have a brain reset when ever I start an app and pop into primary color world to see all the wild array of things I can buy on the start screen. Sigh. That sux. I'll get a replacement start button so I don't have to go there.

I don't like how MS thinks that they've somehow finished with the desktop and it's time to move on to fleecing the wallets of every customer with a app store!

Perhaps this will encourage the development of a healthy third party desktop apps again. I can tell you they'd better damn well offer those goodies in their gilded app store! >_< I remember when I used to buy Norton goodies to spruce up my machine. All that stuff got killed. Who knows. Perhaps it's the beginning of a new age?

But then again. If Adobe bothered to offer Photoshop for Linux, I'd be all over that! And then goodbye Windows! I'm close. I've been using SUSE but I find it a bit cranky. Tho' now that Attachmate owns them I might give them a try again. I have a co-worker who swears by Gentoo. And of course Ubuntu is always the one they say grandma can use. Else, maybe I can roll my own version of GIMP! Ah the things I could do if I had time.

Buying a tablet? Now that's a whole different story! I recently bought a iPad as a gift. But I still haven't used one. So I still don't know much about that. The Nexus 7 looks interesting, but in the same way as a Kindle Fire. Those machines want to fleece you in an the a$$, erm, that is, app store. Win RT is like that too. There's nothing inherently wrong with a different instruction set of the ARM processor. But there's no backward compatibility there in a gilded cage world. I don't want to put myself into a cage.

Summery: My recommendation is...

1) Upgrade/Desktop - NO! You'll be happier with win 7. I'm from the old age. Win 8 is NOT FOR ME! It's not built for me! I like to create when I sit down at my super duper machine. Win 8 is about consumption. Buying things making MS richer and me poorer. Both in my pocket book and in my brain! But I do have one small caveat coming up...

2) Tablet - C'mon, the safe choice is Apple. I still can't see much use for a tablet and so I'm going to say no-recommendation. I'm just not vested enough.

3) Laptop - YES! Hey, you didn't think I had it in me did you? I have used a laptop this year on a contract. The tiny screen IF coupled with touch (on the screen) AND a real keyboard seems like a really nice fit for Win-8. I typically would be running one of TWO apps I would switch between: Terminal server and Notepad. It's gonna be expensive. But for the working -mobility- scenario, this seems like a sweet spot. And heaven knows it's all about mobility these days. My prediction is that Win 8 will do well here!

I've made my prediction. Let's see what happens!
Starwars IV, V, VI for $49.95 Blue Ray, nothing fancy... FINALLY!
Daisy, daisy...

I just read an article about how the brain shrinks as you get older. I always hate those articles: I'm getting older, I can't seem to stop it! >_< But what it really means, is that as one gets older, the odds one can pick up anything new keep going down and down! Here at DA it's easy to find essays on self improvement and being the best (artist) you can be. I don't see as many articles about being able to keep up with the crowd in the first place!

Art - life - art. Naturally, it's a recuring theme around here. I certainly think about it all the time. Some of my most unread posts are about it! But this post is not about pouring tears into my beer mug! No, as I write this missive on my own text editor, I can say this post is about an interesting article I came across while surfing the web recently...… "How to be Creative" by Hugh MacLeod.

At first, it wasn't quite the article that it's title would leave me to believe. It is not an article about "how" to be creative. More so, it is an article on how to support your creativity! Hugh MacLeod seems to touch upon most every topic I've pondered about from time to time. However, Hugh does it in a far more lucid and interesting way!

My favorite topics:

1) Are you hiding behind a pillar?
2) Making money requires compromise.

The first is a favorite topic of mine! Are you buying that equipment because you need it or do you think it will impart the super powers you need to be terrific? I have this bad habit of wanting to buy a bit more than I need. Somehow when I was younger I didn't have a problem with this because I didn't have any money! Now, when I'm older, I find rapid technological advance keeps me from buying too soon at too high a price! I am not an early adopter.

When I bought my first Intuos tablet I was a little worried I was buying boots way too big for my feet! But it turns out a tablet does make some things possible that were harder to do with a mouse. Now, I'm sure I could have made due with a "Bamboo/Graphire" style tablet. But that pillar impulse drew me to the pricier version. Fortunately, I kept that tablet many years. I only recently upgraded because of the touch wheel gadget that the Intuos 4 had seemed like it would really speed things up.

And it did! But one lucky bonus happened at the same time. The tablet is twice the resolution as the previous. Suddenly I can trace my art and thus digitally ink! I simply could not manage it before! Not sure why. Some Pillar stories have a happy ending.

Now I'm still sorely tempted to spring for a Cintiq. Even the touch pad Intous 5 is alluring! But I feel those are pillars. I'd best just keep chugging away on my old home brew AMD Phenom computer and Intous 4 for a while longer.

The take away: if you really like doing what you do. You probably can get by with a minimum of gear!

The second topic I found particularly interesting was that if you love doing something, getting paid for it will involve much compromise. The greater the compromise for more of the money! This was a large part of Hugh's treatise and I think you should read his words directly. But my take-a-way on this, is that, it might be best, in the long run, if you keep your hobby a hobby. No compromise, no need to please anybody! As a matter of fact, the best road for you might be a long and solitary path, but it'll be better than the alternatives. And that is great food for thought.

His article seemed to touch on many considerations I've given thought to as I try to keep a roof over my head while at the same time feeding my creative side. Hugh MacLeod gives it a thorough examination and provides some useful insights. A highly recommended read from me.

Check it out!
At last, aaaallllmost there! Be the 70K viewer and get a sketch!

And thanks for visiting!
I don't know if any of you watched "Robots". But the theme of that animation was that the robots couldn't get spare parts because the evil robots running the metal smelter were trying to make it too expensive to fix yourself up. The only way to get fixed up was expensive "upgrades". Well, I'm not sure the difference between spare parts and upgrades, but I just recently upgraded my system!

Last time I messed with this machine (other than the SSD I stuck in there not too long ago) was back in 2009 when I bought it. But I was looking at a friend's computer and noticed that some of my art looked better over there! >_< So I decided that my integrated graphics was just not cutting it any more. It's a Nvidia with 8 cuda cores. It was ok, but sometimes I like to play a game and then it was pretty bad. So I finally went out and got a video card. It's no big deal. An EVGA GT-520. But it's pretty nice. It has 48 cuda cores. My screen is actually clearer and it's all digital as it is. Plus the colors are deeper. It's like being in a whole new world! Money can buy happiness... for a while at least. ^_^;

I also updated the heat sink on the CPU! That's a first for me. But I didn't want to pay the $35 dollar install fee. So if I get a blue screen of death, I'll know I didn't do a good job with the heat grease! But the stuff that was on my CPU was all dried out and I understand that is not as heat efficient as it should be anyway. And the fan was getting pretty noisy. The new one isn't much better but it looks pretty fabulous, like a giant portobello mushroom on my CPU. :-)

Who knows, maybe next mother board I'll put the CPU on the socket myself! Adventurous! >_< I always let the computer shop do that since if they break it they buy it! And they always install it for me on the spot when I get a new MOBO.

I love fixing up my computer. I wish they had computer shows like the car shows so I could show off my ride!

Next up is my home server. Time for WHS 2011 and a new hard drive. The old one has been in there for 3 years and that's getting to middle age for a hard drive. I just had a very big server I manage go belly up because of both the controller and drives started to fail at the same time! Wow. The raid was crap and replacing the controller did no good. It's too bad that I didn't see the SMART disk warnings sooner. I noticed the machine was acting odd, but I thought it was because the page file was too large for the partition it was set up with before I got there. I fixed it and it really started acting happier and then it started keeling over! That machine was only 3 years old too.

I think 3 years is getting into the transition zone. And 5 years is old.

I've been in a real spring cleaning mood! I fixed up the sprinkler system on the lawn. Threw away a ton of junk in the garage. Carted away bunches of old electronics. Totally re-arranged my media room. I bought one of those wire shelves and now everything is orderly. And lastly I can see the bottom of my desk now! Wow, Memorial day is just next week. I think that would be a good time to upgrade my server.

But it's getting late today. I think I'd like to go have a glass of wine and watch a movie. Or perhaps I'll scan up some test sketches of Xaratron that I drew up for my midweek comic. I don't have a firm idea of what her adventure is going to be yet. But she's fun to draw in her "Tron" suit. >_<

Take care all!
So in this age of over driven MP3 micro-processed sounds squeezed through minuscule ear buds, sometimes I like to  saunter over to my hulk of a 5 channel "stereo" system and listen the old fashioned way: 45's!

Yup, I still have my Onkyo Direct Drive turn table from long ago. The integrated amp and speakers are new. Well comparatively in the last decade. But I'd give anything to have something tube driven. That's pricey sound. Yet, I understand tubes. I could bias a tube type multi-stage super-heterodyne tube radio when I was a kid. And a phonograph is easy to understand. I've even made my own stylus when I was a kid with a safety pin. Not to mention my own telegraph and electric motor! Ah! Those were the days when the world seemed so understandable and I was ready to contribute big things!

These days as I work the 8 to 5 shift I'm thinking my chances of making any real impact is quickly passing in the rear view mirror as I blitz down the road of life. The good news is that it looks like all the bills are going to get paid on time, I have a roof over my head, and I had some extra cash to replace my 15 year old clunker. She was an old faithful, but one too many services recommendations made me decide it's time to move on.

I must apologize, I always get somewhat nostalgic when I listen to those old tunes:

David and David "Welcome to the Boomtown"
The Art of Noise "Peter Gunn"
Bobby Pickett "Monster Mash"
Jive Bunny and the MasterMixers "Glenn Miller Medley"
Level 42 "Something About You"
Journey "Don't Stop Believin'"
Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons "King Tut"

Quite an "assorted mishmash" to paraphrase Douglas Adams. Just stuff I collected over the years. Most of it from thrift stores. What a trove of memories those places can be! Most of my LP's are gone. I just kept the really special ones. But I still have my 45's and any others I come across from time to time. It's just great to kick back in the Stereo Center and listen to those old tunes 3 to 4 minutes of bliss one at a time.

I expect I'll eventually digitize all those old tunes, pops, clicks, hiss, and all. So when I'm really old and in wheel chair in some corner staring nowhere, the attendant can cue up my favorites from the central computer and what's left of my plaque ridden brain can pull back those last shreds of my humanity out from background noise.

It's always bliss!
One thing I love about Netflix on demand is that you can just watch something when you want. Sort of a synecdoche I admit. But I mean there's a lot of stuff there that you wouldn't bother with if you had to put -any- effort into it to see otherwise.

For example: last year I watched all the "Dracula" films including Nosferatu ala Netflix. Yes, yes, I know most of you canceled your subscriptions but I kept mine. But that's not what I wanted to write about here. What I wanted to mention for a moment was "Mars Needs Moms" (2011) distributed by Disney.…. I'll write MnM for sort.

MnM was a box office bomb. Checking the all knowing wikipedia, it was "one of the 12th worse openings in all time and the biggest box-office bomb in film history unadjusted for inflation!" I watched it all of the way thru and I can vouch for the crowds, it was bad. But I mean there's bad and then really bad. "Catwoman," now that was so bad in my opinion that I couldn't even bring myself to watch it! Or bad like in "The War in Space" by Toho 1977…. Now there's a stinker! I made it all the way through that movie. No, MnM was bad but not -that- bad.

Actually I thought MnM was quite watchable: Mom gets kidnapped to program child rearing robots. Child of said mom, chases ship and ends up being whisked to mars. He befriends the child who's mom was kidnapped last. They befriend a renegade Martian and save the day from an oppressive "1984" like bureaucrat. 'Tis the stuff of great 'B' grade Science Fiction if you ask me. Heck, every Dracula movie was 'B' grade if you ask me again. Eminently watchable. I enjoyed it as I did the Dracula shows and Netflix gets to keep my subscription another month.

Lots of big people were involved in this box office bomb. Robert Zemeckis, yeah you know him from "The Polar Express" (2004 Warner Brothers) or "A Christmas Carol" (2009 Disney). Disney distributed MnM. Berkeley Breathed of "Bloom county" fame wrote the original book.

So what happened? I say it's one thing, wikipedia mentions it down in the "critical response" section... the "uncanny valley".…. Computer craphics and robotics engineers have been trying to do this from day one. Mimic the expressions of a real human being. But there's a problem. The "uncanny valley" is the notion that the more you try to make something artificial look human the more repulsed and grossed out real humans get! It turns out we hume's are pretty good at recognizing something wrong in another hume just by looking them in the face! Poor Robert Zemeckis. He's been trying to break the fourth wall now for quite some time! It's too bad because Milo and family mess up what could have been a nice little film otherwise. Let's expand on this a moment...

You know who else knows about this phenomenon? Pixar and John Lasseter! Yup! John knew there was no way he could make a film with psuedo-humans pass muster with an audience. So what did he do? He side stepped the whole tangled mess and cartoonized his way around it. We humans are incredibly easy to please with caricatures. Heck, cartoonists have been doing it for centuries! John never went for "realism" per se. I mean they pour tons of effort into that but in the right places. "Bug's Life". He used hard shelled insects as the actors. As time went on and computers got better he went on with "Toy Story" and eventually "The Incredibles". And that's just the short list. John Cameron pulled off the same stunt in "Avatar". Don't go with humans. Go almost there!

So just like my last journal where I lambast Lucas and the "Star Wars" franchise, you might think I'm down on Zemeckis. But I'm not! He's not taking perfectly good films and mucking them up with "gee wiz" future tech. Nope. Zemeckis is actually trying to push the envelope making the movie the first time! You've got to respect that, even if you decide not to part with your hard earned dollars to participate in that! I hate to say it, but I would like a remake on this one. De-engineer the movie! Make Milo a cartoon! Not just some kid but a caricature of a kid. Like the dudes in "Dragon Hunters"… make it fun! Why did they go for realism in the kid when he lands on a world of goofy martians that are clearly "caricatures" of sexy women. They got it all messed up half and half! Like they couldn't make up their minds!

And that's why "The Polar Express" in 2004 succeeded where "Mars needs Moms" did not in 2011. In "TPE" they didn't didn't mix metaphors. No humans and martians. Just humans and mostly humans or complete animals like reindeer. And they stuck to a very emotional thing like Christmas. It's more believable if you can believe me!

So, if you're sentimental and don't need a bunch of explosions and macho man action to please you, go out and give "Mars needs Moms" a watch. It's a fun little film and tear jerker if you don't set yourself up with grand expectations. And while you're giving box office flops a second chance, why not get another beer and check the only other movie that messed up as bad as "Mars needs Moms". Yes... you should be able to name it now... "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" (1964)!

Over and out!
All I can say is thank goodness! I just couldn't STAND how he kept tweaking and tweaking those films. You never knew what you were going to get every time you watched those damn films.

Think about it... Do I want to see Kermit the frog computerized and re-animated so his eyes blink? NO! Dang it, I want to see the same film I saw 30 years ago! Not some bastardized re-make.

The LEAST he could do is release the old unbastardized films, in some special box set. But is he going to do that nooooo. Stubborn mule. I still watch Star Wars on my Laser Disk. It's the only way to see the Star Wars I enjoyed as a kid.

And remember HAN SHOT FIRST!
  • Mood: Joy