Hobarthy Collages (1)

Since October marks the 6-month moment in the Hobarthy project, I thought I’d take a stab at a collage. I used the panels from Kiss and Tell and Hand of Fate. These images are 750×1000 pixels, and will open in pop-up windows. Enjoy.


Hand of Fate

This is October’s Hobarthy project comic. I thought this would be a lot like The House of Mystery from the cover, but it ended up being a wannabe Hellblazer. More interestingly, it played to all the noir conventions with the utmost sincerity—aware that it’s being cliche and sublimely content with being so.


I spent some time making a couple collage pages (to practice up for the year-end Hobarthy project) with panels, so instead of doing a mini-collage here, I’m going to put up a couple panels and make snarky comments (ala The Comics Curmudgeon).

I imagine the writers feeling edgy when they named the psychic detective’s raven “Satan,” but it inadvertently resulted in OMEN-inspired hilarity. I like the sub-text that Archie’s sidekick is actually a minion of the evil lord.


This sequence is odd. The angry lady with the purse is mad because her husband (balding) philandered with some woman named Gwendolyn, a fact revealed by the stage psychic (Satan’s minion). Then a man who’s dating a woman named Gwen socks the philanderer, sure that his sweetheart has been unfaithful. The fight continues in the second panel; the angry wife watches, shouting with vengeance or indignity. Which is it? Is she commanding violence against her husband or is she offended by it?

Continue reading Hand of Fate

Kiss and Tell (September)

I bought this comic for the Hobarthy project in September and never got around to posting it. I bought it thinking it would be noir crime comic. It ended up more like a noir superhero comic. It’s issue 7 of a Samson story; the lady on the front of the cover is the story’s Delilah.


Here are a few panels (not in the order they appeared in the comic):






The Long-Awaited ‘Serenity’ Post

I’m a Whedon fan, of course, but I missed the Firefly boat the first time around. Since the movie was coming out, Jenny and I zipped our way through the series and finally saw the film. Whoo. I have a few thoughts, but they’re below the fold because they’re spoiler-tastic.

For those of you who’d rather not venture there, I’ll offer the first of my thoughts about the film here:

  1. Reavers = space zombies. We all know zombies are cool. But how can you have zombies in space? They’re sort of like 28 Days Later fellas, only able to fly spaceships. They have an unquenchable blood rage and they do things like eat people and defile bodies. Very zombie-like. I dub them zombies. From space.

Continue reading The Long-Awaited ‘Serenity’ Post

5 minute break

When my cat crawls under my desk/cabinet after strutting around on my lap for a few moments, his purrs reverberate ominously near my feet, humming like some high voltage cold-war machine.

Enjoyable Moments in TV Dialog 4

After I wrote the last entry, I thought I was done, but Jenny and I finally finished watching Firefly on DVD and I couldn’t resist one more:

Wash: You think she’s a psychic? That’s wild. Like something straight out of science fiction.

Zoe: You live in a spaceship, dear.

Wash: So?

Nice. We both noticed this episode setting up a couple plotline moments for future episodes. Oh Joss, why did you have to leave such tantalizing clues?

Enjoyable Moments in TV Dialog 3 (Reality TV edition!)

From the Amazing Race:

“Drive yourself to Washington D.C. Where’s that?”

“In Washington state?”

“A hangar is an airplane.”

“No it’s not. It’s a place to park airplanes.”

And my favorite, reading from the clue about riding in a NASA gravity simulator:

Who wants to pull three G.I.s?

Enjoyable moments in TV dialog 2

From Threshold:

Molly: [Responding to Arthur’s come-on.] No, that’s not what I meant. I need your language skills.

Arthur: Your loss. Very well, how can I be your linguistic beeyotch?

Divers beware


I just finished reading McNally’s Luck, the third (?) book in the Lawrence Sanders series about Archy McNally, a South Beach dandy who does ‘discrete inquiries’ for his father’s law firm.

Detectives have often been hollow characters with amusing habits: Holmes did coke, Poirot dandies around England, and so on. McNally’s twist amuses because it provides both the dandy-ness of Poirot and a pleasant use of particular phrasing and dialog. Some excerpts:

I was familiar with W. Scott’s warning about tangled webs….

The menu, taped to the wall, was a dream come true. We studied the offerings with little moans of delight. Dishes ranged from piquant to incendiary, and I recoked that we might have been wise to wear sweats. The stumpy waiter who came bustling over to take our order had a long white apron cinched under his armpits. He also had a moustache that Pancho Villa might have envied….

[The linen berets] were soft enough to roll up and tuck in a hip pocket, yet when they were donned and the fullness pulled rakishly over to one side, I felt they gave me a certain devil-may-care look….

I went directly to my rooms when I arrived home. I stripped off the dull costume I was wearing and donned my favorite kimono, a jaunty silk number printed with an overall pattern of leaping gazelles….

“I’ve got to be completely honest with you, Archy,” she started—and my antennae stiffened. When people say that to you it’s time to button your hip pocket and make certain your wallet is secure….

As I neared the end of the book, I marvelled at the marketing department’s chutzpah in producing the cover pictured here: the plot involves neither a missing fancy car nor any diving at all. Generally, when the cover art depicts a diver swimming around a coral-covered car, one expects to encounter those elements in the book. Alas, this story revolved around a kidnapped kitty-cat, a pair of murders, and a psychic named Hertha. I can’t help but imagine the broad swath of diving-mystery readers who finished McNally’s Luck and threw it down in disgust.

On the plus side, Sanders did work in a McLuhan reference:

…So Hertha Gloriana is the only lead I have.”

“It’s not much,” he said.

“No,” I agreed, “it’s not. But they do say the medium is the message.”

He gave me a dour smile.

Enjoyable moments in TV dialog

From Numb3rs

Charlie: …Which is the exact same math used in sundials. Agent Sinclair, you are in luck. You happen to be in the presence of two card-carrying members of the North American Sundial Society.

Sinclair: Let the good times roll.

The messy business of dead bodies


For a normally peaceful person like myself, the stealth aspect of games like No One Lives Forever 2 both attracts and disturbs.

It’s attractive in its very realistism: Alias’ Sidney Bristow seems much more human when she sneaks in and out than when she’s biff-ing and boff-ing her way through dozens of guards, and so does Kate Archer. The original NOLF had the stealth aspect too, but the programming wasn’t good enough to allow you to stay stealthy for long. Usually, you snuck around for the first third of the level and then had no choice but to charge in. NOLF2 allows for more opportunities to be sneaky.

But with that added nuance comes added challenges. The guards in NOLF2 are first mystified by dead bodies (often asking their fallen comrades “What happened? Are you okay?”) and then becoming alarmed by them. They sound claxons and raise a ruckus when they find a body. Thus, you have no choice but to move them to inconspicuous locations, as depicted.

How to email a professor

This isn’t strictly writing pedantry, but I think it’s good advice. Orange Crate Art advises the following ‘rules’ for writing to professors via email:

  • Write from your college or university e-mail account.

  • Include the course number in your subject line.

  • Think about what you’re saying:

    • Choose an appropriate greeting.

    • Avoid rote apologies for missing class.

    • Avoid Make direct requests.

    • Proofread what you’ve written.

    • Sign with your full name, course number, and meeting time.

  • Don’t send unexpected attachments.

  • When you get a reply, say thanks.

For me, the attachments one isn’t so key–I ask students to send me a lot of stuff by email, so that’s okay. I also don’t mind direct requests, but phrasing them politely is nice.

Found via Lifehacker

Spam Poetry

A spam I got today:

Subject: High Prestige Watches At Only $250 bought

off shining reference wife few corner development not added gym

did reading my purpose side gym sugar suddenly you nothing

she bad shining anybody companion being the

social across drew added music purpose somewhere

goes servants black goes edge window use miserable

I snap my fingers at you, Lashay Bulah.

The Ghosts of Photostitching

The Ghosts of photostitching

While we were apple picking this weekend, I took a panorama shot of the orchard using my camera’s “photostitching” feature. While it does a decent job of blending the backgrounds, it also results in eerie people movements. Check out the ghostly pedestrian!

Merchants of Cool

My favorite moments from Merchants of Cool:

  1. “That’s when it hit me. Pop culture and youth culture work like a giant feedback loop.” What a lame-o eureka moment. I thought the whole movie spent its time saying this.
  2. Example of a group that couldn’t get their little indie record on TRL: “Joe Fabulous.” That’s awesome. I had a friend in college who liked it if you called her “Mr. Fabulous” in reference to the maitre-D from The Blues Brothers.
  3. “Teachers are nerds”.