Tuesday 28 January 2014

Channel Jed

That is the trailer for Channel Jed. I think it is actually just called 'Jed Hutchinson', which is Jed's name. You may remember me talking about Jed and Jed's EP, The Lost Years, which came out last Jed. Jed, Jed, Jed. You may also remember me getting excited about the alternate mix of 'The Cowboy Song', and the subsequent remix by Explosions & Fireworks. There were good reasons for all of this to be happening, and good reasons that this will no doubt continue into the future.

2014 is going to be the year of Jed. Not 'the international year of', but more of a personal one for him. I'm not sure if it was one of those resolutions that we talk about sometimes, or just a 'hey, it's January' situation, but this will be the start of an increased output of publicly available materials, which is good for the rest of us. Once it is publicly available, we can have it, because we are the eponymous 'public'. That's us.

We've talked about this before. Jed and I, not you and I. You and I have not really discussed anything of this sort, but Jed has made mention of the intention, and I have made supportive noises and sentences out of the words I had at my disposal, and the words, sentences, and noises were all sincere. This whole happening of activity is well within the proposed timeframe proposed for what is happening, and that is exciting. It is all about what is coming next now, and while that previously mentioned 'us' is waiting for what that thing is that is coming next, which I am excited about, there is this cover of 'The Piece You Took from Me' by Whitley. It's by Jed. That is how it is related. It isn't just some cover by some person.

Monday 27 January 2014

Understanding Screenwriting

I guess in a lot of very real and important ways Tom Stempel's Understanding Screenwriting is one of my very favourite books. Whether you fancy yourself a writer of any kind, or simply as a consumer of those things that have been written, there is something within these pages for you.

There are a lot of books about screenwriting, written by screenwriters, and script doctors, and the cats' mother (she had a litter), and that guy that wrote nearly every episode of Babylon 5, and a lot of them act like a how to guide, but Understanding Screenwriting is more of an exercise in foundations and core understandings. That's why it has the title that it has. The title is apt.

The website makes claims to the contrary, going so far as to openly state that it is in fact 'a practical how-to (or how-NOT-to) guide to writing a screenplay', but it is not this. It isn't. They are trying to tell you that it is, because unfortunately that is what people think will write their script for them. Scriptwriters will write your script for you. Not books. A book won't do that. This book is more important than that though. It is a series of incredibly accessible, well written case studies on the history and theory of screenwriting.

Will it make your scripts better? I'm not promising that, because that is a silly thing for any book to promise. People take what they want from everything that they read. If you're thoughtful, and open to criticising your own work in a productive sort of way, then it will most likely do for you what you want it to do, except write your script for you. I don't know that I am that sort of person. If I ever have a script made into an actual film, I will let you know what this book did for me in more concrete terms. I do know that I wrote a great many scripts using a great many how-to books, but it wasn't until I read this that I realised what atrociously toxic nonsense I was producing.

Why does all of this make it one of my favourite books? I mean, it is more or less responsible for me not writing any scripts for the better part of five years. I just stopped. I looked at the scripts that I had been writing and just stepped away from the computer. Well, I didn't do that. I wrote other things, and played games, and spent a lot of time on YouTube and Wikipedia. This was a good thing though. I have read this book from cover to cover, at least once a year since I first read it, and am actually reading it again now. Not right now. I'm not reading and writing. It is an incredibly easy read, and it will leave you with a lot to think about. It should change the way that you think when you write, but it might not. It might just be one of the most interesting books that you ever read about scripts and screenwriting.

The book loses me a little bit in the last section, in which he talks about bad scripts, wherein the author suddenly trades clever insights for snarky putdowns. It isn't the whole last section, but there are whole parts of the last section in which nothing useful or productive is said, but instead reads a lot like one of those negative to be cool film reviews. In his discussion of Dune he admits to never having seen the film all of the way through (and makes no mention of having read the script) while making a valid point about adapting long novels, but Dune had far more hurdles facing the adaptation than the length of the source material. Then there are parts like his commentary on Willow that are completely useless (and possibly the worst written parts of the whole book). I'm not disagreeing with what he said about Willow, I just don't think it is useful. It can be boiled down to: I think this movie is boring, don't listen to Joseph Campbell. It just sounds like he doesn't like Willow, and wants to say something mean about it.

I would really like to see a second edition, with a more thoughtful last section. Stempel is clearly very clever, and I would love to read a less trendy approach to bad scripts from the same part of his brain that wrote most of the rest of the book.

There is actually a lot more that I want to say about how it has altered the whole process of writing for me, but I'll say that when I actually have something to show for my efforts. Right now, I don't have that. I have started writing scripts again. This year. A couple of days ago. Same day I started reading this book again. I'm good at starting things though. It's always in the finishing that I

Thursday 23 January 2014

Naked Lunch

I've talked about Burroughs before in such a way that might suggest that I am familiar with his work. I like to think that this is true. He pumps my engine, literarily speaking. Not literally speaking. I don't have an engine. It would be fair to say that I have read a great deal of what Burroughs has put out into the world. Most, but not the vast majority. It should also be made clear that this does not take into account the huge body of work that was not 'put out into the world'. There was this sort of odd beginning to it in which I was first put onto Burroughs by a video game magazine. This was in 1993. I gradually made my way through the books discussed within over the years to follow.

It would've been about late '95 that I read Naked Lunch, which would've made me twelve or thirteen. I honestly didn't really know what to think of it right away. This isn't to say that there was no thinking. There was. I thought things about it. I thought a lot of things about it. I very quickly thought it was the kind of book that I shouldn't really let people know that I was reading. I was kind of operating in that mode at the time. I also thought that there were a lot of things in it that I didn't really understand to the extent that the author had perhaps intended. There were a lot of things being thought about a lot of the things that I came across in the book. It's that kind of book though. That's what it does to you. There will be things about things.

Naked Lunch is an experience in literature. A lot of people have tried to emulate it over the past 54 years, with varying degrees of success. As is the way with such things. For my money that's what Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was. Naked Lunch is scarier though. It's far more deranged. It is the product of a really broken mind. Where Thompson's glibness manages to pull off comedic, Burroughs is dark, because the situation he is in falls pretty neatly into the 'nightmare scenario' category.

The surreal vignettes give it life as the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland of a different time and place, which I'm fairly certain that I've said before. I know I've said it with my mouth at parties and bus stops, but I'm fairly certain the main gist of that message exists somewhere else here in writing.

I should be clear at this stage. Where Fear and Loathing is a recounting of actual(ish) events, Naked Lunch is 'semi-autobiographical'. The degree of actual biography involved in Naked Lunch is probably less than in the two books that immediately preceded it, Junkie and Queer, but those don't really give you much of an indicator. I ended up reading Junkie and Queer afterwards, but I think you should read them before hand. Order of publication is probably the way to go in this case.

Burroughs was responsible for a whole literary armada. I'm not sure that he really gets the recognition that I feel he deserves in this respect. His work inspired other literary admirals who were more directly influential, but all those subsequent ships wouldn't have set sail without Burroughs. They wouldn't even have been wrighted. It would've been an entirely different naval scenario. 

The boats are books here.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Gayby Baby

That is Rory, and he is telling it like it is, and showing you how to eat an ice cream the best that he knows how. He seems to have lost some of the chocolate shell along the side. This is a rookie mistake. He has some work ahead of him in that department, but his words are fine. He is on the right page with his words. I'm showing you this because I made previous mention of the documentary Growing up Gayby, and I wasn't really sure what its future might be at the time. I know now. Well, I know some of its future, and I'm here to share.

Its future is this thing, Gayby Baby. It's a feature thing. If you missed it, it will have a new life as something else that will be far more available than its previous incarnations. I know this now on account of my connections. My connection tells me to '...tell them the feature is pretty different. More filmy I suppose, and less issue-based', which she explained with 'It's totally from the perspective of the young kids in Growing Up Gayby. No critic interviews'. So, that is the scene. There is going to be a feature with a slightly different approach, but Growing Up Gayby will be available on DVD at some stage. I was also told to tell you that, but I didn't get to it until just now.

There is a Facebook page that will keep you up to date on the whole shebang. I'll try my best to be on top of the shebang, but I'm not known for my reliability in this department. If this particular shebang is your sort of thing then you should probably get it from the face's mouth, because that is where I will be getting it from anyway.

Friday 17 January 2014

I'm a salmon

Do you drink coffee? I do. I like it. I especially like what it does to your body chemistry. Well, I like what it does to my body chemistry. I'm less invested in your body chemistry, unless I need you to be a coffee monster, but that is strictly case-by-case. I mostly make my own coffee, or it is made for me by someone in my household. Sometimes though it is made for me through an exchange of currency for goods and services. I have a preferred establishment for this exchange. It is around a corner, and there is minimal street crossing. There are also smiles, hugs and pleasant verbal exchanges that take place. I haven't always been a hugger, but I'm working on it.

At my little coffee box where my coffees live before they are mine, I am a known guy. Not known by name, but people know me. People who work there. For a long time I was the friend of that friendly guy, then I was the life partner of the friendly guy, then I was one of the gay guys with the baby. I wasn't particularly well known there for a long time. Assumptions were made, and those assumptions were for the most part wrong. Nearly all of the part in fact. Things have been clarified, and now I am the guy with the uneven chest hair.

On those occasions that I go to extract coffee from these people who now know me I more often than not engage in some chat, which I enjoy. I get hugs, we make jokes, and we chat about our lives. It's all about affirmation. There are key players in this scene. People who attend the till, walk the floor, and mix the milk and coffee together. Usually soy, because of my body, which doesn't do lactose in the regular way. These are the people who are most accessible to customers. of which I am one. These are the people who are saying words and sentences with me in order to construct the chats. It's a two way street. You need people going both ways for the chat to happen, which brings me to Blonde Coffee-Girl. I'm not saying she goes both ways. I see what might be implied there, and that isn't what I am saying. It wasn't a double entendre. Just single. One entendre. It's a two-to-tango thing. Her orientations aren't really known to me, or my business, except the vertical one, in that she is standing up, which is important in a professional environment where coffee is made and customers are attended to.

Anyway,  Blond Coffee-Girl is the one particular person who hasn't been communicative beyond the taking of orders and the general congeniality of the receiving of customers into the establishment, which is about the limits of her social obligations towards me, and other customers. She isn't rude or anything like that, it's just not what I get from the other staff.

All of this changed last Saturday, or Friday. I'm hazy on days. Probably Saturday. I was unwell on Friday, and then I was all about the coffee on the Saturday. On this Saturday (or Friday) I broke down the social constraints that had been preventing us from engaging in distinctly unmemorable conversation, if there were any such constraints. Perhaps it was shyness. I used my slyness to rend whatever it was asunder. It wasn't particularly sly actually. It was based more in common sense, but if you knew me, you would know that my relationship with common sense would be listed under acquaintances. We're Facebook friends, but I don't have an e-mail address. The end result being that when I do common sense it feels sly. I feel really clever. I'm in the realms of 'I have hung the hand towels that own in the bathroom, so that they can actually be used. Where is my prize?'.

This kind of thing is normally in the telling, and I think I could tell it in such a way as to make it sound particularly clever, but I'm far more inclined to undermine myself on this one. The truth of the matter is that I was talking to my Indian buddy, whose coffee box I'm pretty sure that it is, and I casually included her in the conversation. This is how one normally does these sort of things. Think of how you start talking to people in your life. This is the way that we do it. Sometimes we just walk up to people and introduce ourselves, but that isn't the average way. It is a special occasion kind of way. At the time though I felt like some sort of intrepid socialiser. Totally swimming against the current to expand the number of people who would actively participate in listening to the things that I say, which is the goal here, and actually the goal in most places in my life. That is what I am seeking.

Why am telling you all of this now? Well, I'm going back in there tomorrow, and we will find out if the status quo has changed into a chatty sort of quo. It should actually be 'a chatty sort of status', but I liked it better the other way. The English is bad arse and deserves our respect, but in the word-face abuse-to-amuse is totally my wont. So, you'll know the quo go. Yo!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

How the geek stole Christmas!

This is me. I'm Batman. I am the night. I'm not sure that I am doing it right though. I'll have to look into it. Actually, I'm not sure what I'm doing, but it doesn't look like a very Batman thing to be doing. I'm not often Batman. One might even suggest that I'm pretty much never Batman. I used to be Batman a lot when I was a child. I was the kind of Batman that climbed on the furniture. I loved Batman, and then that Batman movie came out. You know the one. Batman. That was what it was called. Just Batman. When that happened I think my life became suddenly better. It was also around that time that I started reading the comics. I think that the first Batman comic that I read might have been the the one that was based on the movie. I'm not certain about that though. Before that it was all Super Friends and Adam West.

Batman is a DC comics guy, which means that he hangs in a club with Wonder Woman and The Flash. DC comics do this thing where they do crossovers all the time so that you will read their other titles. It's not particularly sly, it's just something they do. Currently, of the fifty two ongoing titles being published by DC, thirteen are under the Batman umbrella, or Batbrella, which means that venturing into this territory is hazardous. You can suddenly find yourself reading thirteen titles a month without even thinking about it. Some years ago I freed myself from this situation, and managed to cut back my regular DC comic consumption to Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, in no small part due to the cancellation of many of my favourite characters.

I'm not really big on Christmas, which is nearly entirely to do with the time of year. I'm the kind of person who spends most of Summer tired and sweaty, and I haven't usually done anything fun to get that way. Historically, I seem to spend the Christmas period ricocheting through a variety of outdoor themed activities and geographical locations, all the while harassed with promises of fun and mirth. Then I get burnt, and bitten, and stung, and prematurely aged, and scratched, and tired, and grazed, sometimes injured, and usually end up adding unnecessary quantities of seawater and/or chlorine to my diet. Sand! There is also lots of sand.

This Christmas I managed to escape much of these sort of sun related things. It rained, which helped, but there was also a little bit of putting my foot down. Sometimes feet. More often than not though it was my bum. That is the final word really. My bum is down, and I am staying right here.

With my bum firmly placed, I suddenly found myself surrounded. I am completely misrepresenting this situation for dramatic effect. There were numerous bum placings, in each of which it would be fair to say that I knew what I was doing, but let me tell it the other way. I was surrounded by Batmans. Batmen. No. Wait. Let's try this another way.

Retreating from the greater part of humanity, pretty much all of it apart from myself, I sat in the living room of the beach house glad that the grey skies and scattered rain had excused me from a variety of external obligations. I pulled open my laptop, and launched my Steam account. Games had started arriving there as part of the festive season, but I had been deep in the Batman: Arkham games, and launched one. I had been spending my time with them lately, and an understanding was growing, but something had changed. As I steered my Batman through his digital Gotham, my mind lingered on the current role of Robin and Nightwing.

I didn't think much of it at first. A lingering thought about the characters that populated Batman's world. Who are we if we aren't thinking about Batman from time to time?

Early January rolled around, and I found myself looking up from Sribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. I had just spent six hours in the in-game character encyclopaedia. Six hours in the blink of an eye. How had this happened? How did I reach this point? The last ten days came reeling back in. Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes, Batman: The Dar Knight Returns parts one and two, and all the Young Justice I could find. I had touched everything it had offered me. I had taken it all in. I could see the sickness. I had delved too deep, and I had become infected. I could see then where it would lead me. I knew what awaited me if I failed to regain control. I had been there before.

Frantic, I moved against the tide that would consume. I created as much space as I could between myself and the darkness, fighting for myself and my time on this Earth. I could feel its thousand hungry eyes watching me as I locked it away.

A week passed, and I was beginning to feel free from the lure of the sequential art. My cousin called late one night asking if I would like to catch up. It was late. It was after nine. Well, I was up, but I was surprised that I got a call at that time. That is late for a call. I thought that it would be good to catch up then and there. Sooner the better.

I needed to escape the temptation that had been reaching into every part of my life. He came to get me, and we exchanged those regular greetings that we exchange with family, and he tossed something into my lap. Late Christmas presents. I knew them for what they were straight away. Trade paperbacks. Collected editions.

I looked down at the one on top. Star Wars Legacy. There was no problem here. Dark Horse, who published it, aren't known for their universe sprawling crossovers. This was containable. This was something I could read in isolation Perhaps it would be followed by a handful of sequels, but I would not be consumed.

I was suddenly afraid of what lay underneath. The other title. I had glimpsed the spine, and I knew what it could be, but I wasn't certain. There was the possibility that it was a standalone story. They do those from time to time. More often than you might think. I slowly slid the Star Wars book aside to reveal Batman Volume 1 The Court of the Owls. I knew what I was looking at. I knew full well what this wretched thing was. Full continuity. Ongoing. Part of a DC comics crossover event. It was a gateway book. This is it started.

My cousin pulled out of the drive way, asking me where I wanted to get dinner, but all I could think about was the door that had been opened. I hadn't read it yet, but I would. I knew that. I thought back to the previous week. It hadn't been hunger I had seen. It was patience.

The car picked up, and the night made way for us. It had begun. It knew me now. I was the night.

Monday 13 January 2014

Space Dandy is on the scene

I was going to be so on top of this whole situation, but I was thinking about other things. I'm here now, and Space Dandy is out on/in/at the Madman Screening Room, which I like as a venue for this sort of thing. It is available subbed and dubbed, but I went with the dubbed. I was tired. Super tired. I started the subbed version, but switched over on account of there was a reason that I was watching cartoons instead of reading at one in the morning.

The show is about what the trailer implied it might be. Exactly about. It is. It is that thing that you would probably expect from that trailer, if you were paying attention. It's super busy, visually, which is why I'm probably going to stick with the dubbed version for the time being. It also absolutely doesn't take itself seriously. I'm two episodes in, being the number of currently available episodes, and I just watched a whole episode about tasting ramen, which made sense at the time.

Captain Future came to mind while I was watching it. Not any version of Captain Future that I was previously familiar with, but a kind of unemployed, bosom-ogling, crayon-eating Captain Future. You get the impression that in the future there are a lot of things that don't work very well, and that in the future there is a great deal of incompetence. Space incompetence, as distinct from terrestrial incompetence. It's very colourful. Some many colours. If you like colours, then you are going to enjoy the show.

Saturday 11 January 2014

Slow motion mysticality

I was sick yesterday, and I'm not feeling great today. I didn't have a bad day thanks to the internet. I'm fairly certain that lack of internet is why being sick used to suck. I was trawling YouTube for covers of 'I'm always here' by Jimi Jamison, which is more frequently referred to as 'The Baywatch Song', when something mystical happened. I'll get to that in a moment.

YouTube is kind of a lot like Wikipedia. Most of what you see there is only partially real at best, and it is ridiculous how easy it is to end up miles away from where you started. Not real miles. Digital miles. It's a conceptual distance. Unless you're on a train or some other mode of transport. Then the miles could be real, actual miles (or real, nautical miles if you're in a boat) as well as being conceptual, digital miles. Don't trawl YouTube when you're driving though. They don't make ads about it yet, but you can kind of extrapolate from the texting ads that they probably aren't going to be happy if they catch you doing it. It's kind of a no brainer really. If they do end up making ads for it, it means that there is a problem. Those kinds of things are rarely preemptive. It's usually on account of people doing 'x', and the scientist bursting dramatically through the political doors and saying, "Damn it, man! Look at this graph of 'x' over time. 'x' is getting way out of hand. Shit's gotta change! Damn it, man! Lives are at stake! Real, actual lives (or real, nautical lives if you're on a boat)!" The politicians then bring in their own 'scientists' who usually studied a form of statistics that allows probability to exceed 1, which results in things like 'The number of people doing "x" in 2032 will be equal to the population plus the population over pi.' So, they make an ad to scare the shit out of you. I think the YouTube one should be someone who finds a link to a clip titled 'Ultimate hot girls in bikinis driving fail', with a corresponding thumbnail, but when he clicks on it is actually him dying in a car accident. Then he dies as depicted in the clip, and there are no hot girls or bikinis anywhere!

Freshly showered and isolated in my bed with Panda and a packet of blueberry bagels, I was ripe for this kind of link-hiking. Starting with the the Baywatch intro, I progressed to covers of the song, believing that the sort of people that would cover it would be the kind of amazing people that I would want to watch brushing their teeth. Some people don't edit their clips very well, and you end up with a keen insight into their oral hygiene. I moved through the standard YouTube heroes singing a variety of ridiculously awesome songs that a lot of people think they're too cool for. You're not by the way. No one is. It makes you look less cool. You know who you are! Then there were clips of people talking about how they did their recordings, which lead to interviews with stand up comics. Whenever I think of stand up comics I think of pop-up comics, which I imagine to be a cross between a comic book and a pop-up book 'Where your heroes really leap off the page! Available from all leading book retailers.' And probably comic shops.

There was an interview with Aziz Ansari about the animation work that he does, which I didn't realise he was that into. He is. He loves it. Then there were interviews with other voice actors about their animation work, including Mark Hamill who plays the Joker in so many things. He has played the Joker more than anyone else on the planet. I'm making that up. It might be true, but I don't know that it is. I'll say it again though, and I won't even know then unless someone else tells me, but even then I am taking their word for it. We're always taking somebody's word for it. ALWAYS! Not always. Sometimes we know through empirical discovery, which is different to imperial discovery, which I have no empirical knowledge of, unless you count when you find out that someone takes up too much of the bed, which is a kind of imperialism. Domestic imperialism. My housemates are engaged in domestic imperialism with each other. She has recently taken regions in the office, while he undertakes a slow invasion of the sunroom. They tried to forge a treaty by having a son, but he has already led a successful campaign into the living room and the bathtub, and has recently been conducting some yard based reconnaissance.

Did you know that there are a lot of people who reenact scenes from cartoons with the assistance of animation? I didn't, but I would've said yes had I been asked. No. That's not true. I would've waited for an opening to sneak off and investigate. It's pretty cool. It's also 'pretty cool' how many people do similar things for iconic intro sequences from eighties and nineties television series. Particularly Baywatch. Which brought me full circle. I like to think that I had done a lap of cyberspace As I sat there looking at the the link to 'Baywatch intro', the very same clip with which I had started. I was distracted though. Right there above it was a clip. 'Baywatch: Season 1 | Episode 1 | Panic at Malibu Pier'. I'm not super sure how official this whole situation is. They've been up for over 4 years at the time of writing, and license holders are pretty severe are coming down hard on this sort of stuff. The poster seems to have posted season one in its wholepletedness, but most of everything up to the end of season four seems to be there, but looking a whole lot less 'official'. If this is a deliberate and official situation, then this is probably a good way to get people into older shows. I'm pretty hooked. Baywatch is definitely a show I never even would have thought about having started watching again unless I had the opportunity to start from the beginning for free while I was burrowed deep beneath the covers with my favourite bear.

I watched Baywatch a lot when I was younger, which some of you might have deduced from my whole thing with The Octo-Hoff. I claim now that I was a viewer solely because my mum watched it and the TV was on anyway. This isn't true. The drama is ridiculous and the situations are occasionally right on the edge of believability (I don't know enough about lifesaving to really know any better), while at times crossing right over the edge and goes deep into the realms of 90s TV action/drama fantasy land with nuclear warheads, and earthquakes, and what have you. It's great. It knows where it is at, and there are times when you're all like, "I can't talk now, Mitch's friend's kid that he kidnapped, not Mitch, but the friend, it's a custody thing, is stuck in a drainage canal and the tide is coming in, and he might drown." People are like, "What? You better get back to that." I also really like Magnum PI, which is not as mathematically oriented as the title may suggest, but has a very similar tone and more moustaches than the Baywatch. Here is a picture of me dressed as Thomas Magnum.

That's me in the middle. The one least looking like Magnum. The guy to your left was at the time my future housemate, and now former housemate, while the guy to my left is a guy of whose existence we became aware a handful of minutes earlier. About two minutes. Probably less minutes. About the amount of minutes (or parts there of) that it takes to convince someone in a similar costume to take a photo with you. Not many. If any. It wouldn't be zero though. I was quoting a song that is not related to anything I have been talking about.

I mentioned pi twice without even thinking about it!

Thursday 9 January 2014

Young Justice

There are a couple of things that I don't like to see in kids' television. I don't like it when the heroes are kids or teenagers, because they are usually incredibly poorly written and it's difficult to engage with these unbelievable characters. The other one is ensemble pieces. There always seems to be this need to get everyone involved in every story, which often leaves you time poor for actual story. These were red flags for me when I was a child, and they are still red flags for me now.

Young Justice is an ensemble show about teenage superheroes, and it is fantastic. It might be the best superhero cartoon that has ever been made. I prefer it over other top shelf tonics such as the 90s' Batman: The Animated Series and X-men. The show draws on the various incarnations of both the Young Justice and Teen Titan comic series. It's the wards, proteges, and sidekicks of the heroes that get to sit at the adults' table, but they have their own table with a secret base and everything. The characters are engaging, the plots are rich and intertwiney, and the adventures are exciting.

It explores responsibility, friendship, teaminess, family units, supportiveness, chosen families, obligation, loss, why Batman is in charge, why Aquaman is actually a total badarse, addiction, anger management, and ethics in wartime. When you've watched it it will appall you that it was cancelled after only two seasons, totalling forty-six episodes, a twenty-six issue comic series, and a completely canon computer game.

It's a tonally diverse show. They also make an effort to be an ethnically diverse show, but they all do that these days. There were tears, but there were also expressions of mirth and delight. I wriggled a lot. I'm a wriggler though, which is totally reckless behaviour for someone with my spinal backstory. You don' get much say in it though. They pull the wriggle strings.

It also reaches deep into the DC stables for supporting characters and cameos, referencing classic stories, other DC TV shows, and dozens of big names that make regular appearances in order to explain the roles and relationships within the context of the wider DC universe. They really have populated the shit out of the show, which turns it into a sort of gateway drug. Once you're familiar with the multiple Flashes, and Adam Strange, and Doctor Fate, and Red Tornado, and Beast Boy, and Miss Martian, you find that you're a little more entrenched in the way it all functions. You want to know more of their stories. They are your friends now, and you will get excited when you see them in the media streets. You will have made new friends. Friends in tights. Super Friends.

Sunday 5 January 2014


I like reading comics. It's an easy thing to do. They're all full of pictures, and quite often those picture are related to the story that's being told. In that way they are a lot like picture books. I like picture books.

There is one, a comic, that I have been reading lately that is in the process of coming out on a month by month basis. I haven't done this for a long time. I normally pick up the completed tale once it's available in a format that is easier to keep on a shelf. My iPad has changed that, because now I don't have to keep it on any sort of physical shelf.

I'm reading Saga. I like saying it. Saga. Writing it isn't the same. It's this space-opera/fantasy thing, and there are bounty hunters, and robots, and all that fun stuff. It's also got space wizards, and it's a period of civil war. When you say it out loud like that there are some things about it that are going to remind you of Star Wars, but it's on a whole different wavelength. The opening scene is childbirth, a romance novel is a central and clever plot point, and there is a dude who is in love with a spider lady. The dialogue is a delight to get into, the action is exquisite, and the drama is an intrepid explorer of the emotional spectrum. It's well written, and well drawn, which are the two parts of a comic. They get written and drawn, and then they're done, and this one is done very well. If you wanted something brief, it's a weird and exciting space-opera fairytale for adults.

If it seems like the kind of thing that might take your fancy, you can get your face into it over on the Comixology app, which lets you purchase comics on your toys. Fun! No more shelves. Well, you'll still have shelves, but you'll put things on them that aren't your comics. Stuffed animals, your completed Lego sets, science fiction toys. I'm not sure what stuff you have at your place. The point is that there won't be comics on your shelves. As if that wasn't incentive enough, the first issue is free through Comixology, which makes it a great way to see if it might be the kind of thing that you want in your face.

Thursday 2 January 2014

New Years Resolution #26: The PDCC Directive

I'm not actually sure that this is the twenty-sixth year that I have made a New Years resolution. I'm fairly certain that it didn't happen much (or at all) when I was a small child, but I remember myself as the kind of kid that "wanted one of those" even if I wasn't totally on top of whatever one of those was. As a result I'm sure that my early resolutions were probably along the lines of, "play more video games" or perhaps even "I like bananas", which I still do.

I want to talk about Phil Collins for a few lines, which may initially appear to be unrelated, but I'll bring it around. Phil Collins, who I will call PDCC from here on in, is a musician. He was the drummer in a band called Genesis until the original lead singer left to wear his own pants. PDCC stepped up and the band changed, which is the kind of thing that happens when people leave bands. I like the original lineup of Genesis, and I also like the lineup that followed. There was another lineup after that that I am actually unfamiliar with, which is on me.

PDCC later went solo, and the stuff that he did when he was solo is the kind of thing that I quite enjoy listening to. Serious Hits... LIVE! is one of my favourite albums. I get down to it in an enthusiastic and delighted sort of way. As a result, PDCC has at times made me very happy.

In the last decade or so people have built and populated a 'hating PDCC' bandwagon. A bandwagon which apparently transcends being actually able to name or hum any PDCC songs. Eventually he walked away from it all, and even defended the people who had been mean to him. This is a guy that did what he loved, and it reached a point where he retired believing that he was doing the world a favour.

There is this thing of which I am aware, and it is a thing of which I am aware a lot of the time, but I have become painfully oversensitive to in the last couple of months. We as a society say a lot of really mean things about people, and then we start laughing. This kind of seems weird to me. I guess it always has, but like so many things it is easy to tell ourselves that it isn't really so bad.

It can be bad though. I can be very bad. It depends a lot on what's happening on the other end, which is something we can't really be aware of all of the time. We justify it to ourselves that it is okay to say these things, because we don't really mean it, and that person is just going through some stuff so it is not really on us.

A lot of you that know me in the real world know that I have probably been one of the worst perpetrators of this in the past, which really extends pretty much most of the way up until writing. I want to change this. I don't want to be hurting people anymore.

As an extension, we as a society are quick to cut people down instead of finding a more positive and supportive way of communicating with other people. This ruins people. We are ruined by these things as people.

I'm going to find better things to laugh about, and I'm going to find better ways of communicating with people. I want people to feel better around me. There are some habits that need to be broken, but I'm committing myself to breaking them. When it becomes hard and I don't know what I should do or try next, I'm going to turn to the fact that PDCC is writing music again with the intension of returning to the stage, which makes me happy.