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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quack Qu-uugh

IMG_3415I have wanted an airbrush for years. The hurdle was the splurge on something that doesn't seem like a necessity and the follow-up expense of the air compressor. I got an airbrush for Christmas (thanks, Sis). I then went to Barclay's Exchange-- the best place to find stuff in town. It's crazy how many odd things I have gotten there at the best possible price in town:
  • Desktop computer
  • PS3
  • Digital Camera
  • DVDs galore
  • Sledgehammer
  • ... and an Air Compressor
I loaded up on art supplies after Christmas, but I had nothing practical to paint. Last year's Cthulhu would have been awesome, but he is now the super-odd lawn ornament at a friend's place. As luck would have it, a friend gave me some lawn ornaments-- plain ornaments. So, I thought: time to Zombie it up a notch!
I primed a couple of the ducks (a standing duck for me; a baby duck for Kiddo). Then, I applied a basic coat with craft paint and some black and green washes. I zombied up the duck's bill with some hobby putty (dangerous in wide use, but effective in small doses). I let it dry.
I broke out my airbrush and loaded it with a combo of black, yellow and green. I only semi-mixed it and went with the randomness. I then went to town on the duck's features. I switched to yellow and did details on the bill and feet. Added some black to the yellow and darkened up the shadows. I used the small well on the airbrush and did some red shading like dried gore.
The finale was a load up of red paint. I blast air at the bill and forehead, let in a couple heavy shocks of red paint, then chased that around with some blasts of air to make the spray. I was thinking that likely the duck went all zombie, then some numpty brought the ducks a loaf of stale bread. Then the zombie duck opted for the other other white meat. Voila: Zombie Duck.
I will do another Zombie duck when I get a chance. We got a rabbit lawn ornament as well, but I have been forbidden from going all Zombie on that one. I see Zombies in my future...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yecchh

If I had seen this yesterday, I would have blamed today's sickness on this:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Puke Sues Paramount

According to this article and this more direct source, Harlan Ellison is suing Paramount. This stupid script was written 45 years ago. It had to be rewritten because Harlan Ellison submitted a script with massive crowd scenes and other BS impractical for a 48 minute teleplay for a show where they had fist fights instead of laser battles because laser battles cost too much. Somehow he cajoled them into taking the script but they had to rewrite it to make it useable. In retrospect, they should have paid for it then burned it.
If you look at Harlan Ellison's influence, it's peppered throughout Hollywood. Not the successful part of Hollywood, but the part of Hollywood that struggles for a 1.0 Nielson rating. He's the patron saint of stilted scripts and cliche regurgitation. If characters are doing something ridiculous on a show no one is watching, expect to see Harlan Ellison in the credits.
Maybe there's a tinge of envy on my part. I have bad ideas! I can be mercurial! I can be mediocre and turn nothing worthwhile in. Why can't I be as famous as Harlan Ellison?
After hearing that he's suing over many elements, including that Hallmark Christmas ornament (the talking glowing archway thing), I want to go buy that and other doo-dads to pump cash into the coffers of Paramount and vex Hollywood's huckster, Harlan Ellison.
What galls me the most: the royalty and intellectual property system has become a road block, not a set of rules. Ditch diggers dig day-after-day to earn an income. Doctors mend flesh for their livelihood. Writers and Hollywood studios hope to make a cash cow, then milk it for generations. Disney is willing to shed blood to keep Steamboat Willie out of the public domain. Almost all of our pop-culture is post-modern: built on a foundation of known elements. There is a fantastic documentary on this topic (click here). The studios owe their existence to grabbing public property and putting a fence around it. Harlan Ellison is doing the same in suing the studio regarding work he got paid to do almost HALF A CENTURY ago. He did work for them, they paid him and since then he's bitched and whined: he's already had legal battles over this story and published his own version. Give it a rest: you got paid. I hope the descendants of Gutenberg track you down, Ellison, and sue you doubly: first, for the how much you've made use of the printing press; and second, because of how much your writing has besmirched their invention. Of course he's suing over Star Trek: it's a cash cow. No one is going to do "A Boy and His Dog" brand dog food and risk getting into a lawsuit: Ellison's central work is unpopular with the general populace. All of the Ellison's chaff gets churned into Hollywood's output while much better writers (Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge and dozens of others) couldn't have one of their works made into a film or TV production to save their lives. If it weren't for this one Star Trek episode and being a canker in the maw of the Hollywood studio system, Harlan Ellison would be the grumpy guy running a secondhand book store in some Cleveland strip mall. Harlan: sit down at your typewriter and hack out something worth reading. That's how real writers earn a living.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Olympic Weasel Update

No one would willingly create the economic disaster that the Olympics brings. Montreal was in debt debt for a generation. Every city victimized by the IOC forms the path of wreckage all the way up to the Vancouver 2010. The Liberals pushed for the games and spent millions of known dollars winning the bid. They pledged that this Olympics would not see massive disruption and that it would stay in the black. Big corporate sponsors like Nortel pledged to support them. This would create jobs, not destroy jobs. The Olympics would be a benefit to all communities in BC.
Flash forward to 2009. This from Global TV--
...for up to two months next year, meaning thousands of people from small B.C. communities will likely not be able to fly directly into the city.

Daryl Smith, CEO of Pacific Coastal Airlines, said Monday that flights coming from communities such as Powell River, Bella Bella, Port Hardy and Trail will not be deemed secure enough to fly into into YVR during a two-month period surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games...

...Smith said he has been told these restrictions will be in effect from Jan. 29, 2010 to March 24, 2010....

...Smith said it will cost his organization an estimated $1 million to adapt to the changes if they are in effect for two months, as he said he’s been told. He added that for his airline alone, the changes are likely to affect about 14 flights per day, and potentially 10,000 passengers over the two months.

------------

An internal staff memo uncovered Monday reveals that Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse will lay off 200 workers for just over a month next year because it has been forced to close during the Olympic Games.

“Since we are located within the Hastings Park Olympic footprint, a restricted area, the various Olympic committees have forbidden us from operating from February 1 to March 2 of 2010,” reads a memo written last week by Raj Mutti, general manager of the racecourse.

Dated March 4, the memo was leaked to the New Democratic Party, which gave it to reporters on Monday.

Mutti would not speak to the media Monday, instead referring calls to Howard Blank, spokesman for the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.

Blank said the company has known “for some time” it may have to close during the Olympics, adding the decision was finalized last week.

Blank said Hastings Racecourse would normally run its food and beverage facilities, simulcast betting facility and 600 slot-machine casino during the month it must now close.

He said he has not been told explicitly that the closure is due to security....

...Finance Minister Colin Hansen, also minister responsible for the Olympics, said the 200 workers from Hastings Racecourse are mostly food and beverage workers (translation: they're poor and so they either don't vote or they vote NDP, so tom-ay-to tom-ah-to) and he believes they will be able to get similar jobs with other companies looking to hire during the Olympics. (I hear that any alcoholic could do the job of Finance Minister so they all have a shot at an unenviable job).

Here's a great bit from the Squamish Chief. Likely no community will get more screwed than Squamish. They won't get the benefits of Whistler or snow covered Vancouver (hah!). All they'll get is traffic delays and highway accidents.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ironic Placement

This morning's thread of Breakfast Televsion in Vancouver: "What's your worst job." One staffer said that B-TV was their worst job. That's fitting since the rout that has taken place at this channel and other media over the last year or so. I went off on a tangent and did a search via Google. I found that CityTV STILL hasn't cleaned up their B-TV personalities page. What's more ironic: after dumping chunks of their team but keeping them on their website for MONTHS, their ads are part of the "No Contracts" Shaw cable campaign.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ways that BSG could end

I found these via the Interwebs and they were good:

· Bob Newhart wakes up next to Boomer and says: "You need more sweaters"

· Patrick Mcgoohan turns out to be the final cylon and rides "Rover" back to Caprica.

· Kyle MacLachlan is the final Cylon calling himself Bob and smashes his forehad agasint a mirror while giggling "How's Iblis! How's Iblis!"

· The main characters make their way to the burnt out remins of a diner. With some effort they manage to make a table side jukebox work. "Don't Stop Beleiving" plays. Screen goes black.

· They arrive at the real Earth. Their technology is woefully behind the times. The leading nation has just elected Jimmy Carter and something known as disco has died. Apollo and Boxey unpack their flying jet bikes and lead a team of super strong school children to the surface. The year is 1980.

· Starbuck wakes up, she stumbles into the bathroom. The shower is running. She opens the door to see Patrick Duffy. He says, "Sorry-- the guy who played Zak said he wouldn't come back, so here I am baby!"

· When the Battlestar starts to buckle, Doc Cottle flys in in a cape to rescue all of the crew. He plunks them down on a new Battlestar. We pull back from the new ship nestled in the fleet. Pull back until everything gets sparkly. Cut to a snow globe. Boxey is siting on the Quad steps at SFU staring into the snow globe diorama of the Galactica fleet. All the other students give Boxey a wide berth: him and his helper monkey, Muffet.

· The ship crashes. Five years later, Baltar and Apollo row up upon a shore. The remaining survivors are gathered around the wreckage of the CIC. Adama is in a massive version of a resurrection thank where his big table would have sat, drinking a gin and tonic. The crew are flitting around booking hair appointments with the Sixes-- each of whom have opened up a beauty salon ("nah-- you want to go to Famous Original Sixes on Seventh-- Original Sixes on Lex is no good"). Baltar waxes on about how this will end when someone blows up this Earth to make way for a hyperspace by-pass. They'll never know the answer to life the universe and everything.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nuke them all -- Let God Sort it Out

Next Big Future has a cool post of the real impact of nuclear weapons. One thing, I took away from this article: the wave to nuclear threat peaked in 1960. I thought the stockpiles grew in the 1970s, but that appears to not be the case. The media hyped my imminent demise so much that my adolescence had a pall cast over it. Maybe this is why the collapse of local media has me thinking, "meh, if you didn't suck, you'd still be in business." After a half century of using fear to glue us to the TV, we're worn out.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A-Morning Cancelled... again

A-Morning From A-Channel or A-TV or whatever it will be after the next takeover has been canceled effective IMMEDIATELY. The A-Morning crew would crow over how many episodes they had ("This is Episode 120, Eric!"). I thought that they were feeling that Wile-E.-Coyote-off-the-cliff sensation too. When the last owner of the channel had to cut back they nailed the morning show. Then a new owner rolled out a morning show in markets like Victoria. They dusted off the format and started doing the show again. Monday morning, I popped into a Thrifty's where Maggie Cox was wrapping up her live spot. There she was amid more lights than a Hollywood premier and more cables than a Frankenstein movie. All of her gear and personal effects filled a shopping buggy. I felt a little bit of pity. When I see the same people in front of the camera at 6AM and 5PM and 11PM, I think: "Where is Labour Relations? How can these people be forced to pepper a 17 hour day with three newscasts?"
I'd like to blame the Internet on the decline of TV viability. Really, it's a combination of factors.
TV has gotten boring. We don't call Chek-TV evening news by its name. We call it the "Missing Pet Report" because how much air time goes to missing pets and pets that can do tricks or survive abuse. Apart from Stephen Andrew, local TV news does NOTHING investigative.
Businesses are working with thin margins. TV is too expensive to use as an advertising medium. In a world with CostCo and WalMart, businesses have no breathing room. That's compounded by the high rates that TV charges. For the salespeople to make a good living and not work very hard, they have to get a lot of cash from each deal. For the TV station to keep its doors open, it needs some of that cash too. I worked at a radio station where the salespeople built their house on contra and took off for free golfing with free golf clubs they got in lieu of cash. That radio station is long gone-- now it's the storage cellar for a liquor store.
Some nonviable TV channels have help from the cable companies. The same cable company that botches the channel substitutions is also kicking money up to such broadcasting powerhouses as the Golf Channel (I watched it once while so hungover that friends called an ambulance) and Slice (I don't even know women who can survive that channel). Chek-TV and A-TV are clearly unviable, why don't they deserve a break?
Media in our town is doomed. Morning TV News is gone. The Times-Colonist may soon die out. Chek-TV is on shaky ground. What will that leave? CFAX. Oh, and the Internet. It would be great if there could be a cohesive front put to the Internet and the local topics: decent blogs and timely videos farmed together. The problem with the delivery of the Internet is that it doesn't work well for semi-comatose people who awaken and try to drink coffee with TV news in the background.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Games Boyz -- Now With Movies

Game-boyz.com is now up. In the coming week, there will be some Watchmen coverage. As we kick into Summer, expect many more movies and videos. We will have reviews as well as news. Stay tuned.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss / Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on this day in 1904. As a kid, I liked his books-- the wacky non-human characters and parables. I'm a parable junkie: I used to watch those painful animated Aesop's fables, I could quote more episodes of Twilight Zone from memory, and I loved Dr. Seuss. When I grew up, I learned more about Geisel and my interest grew. He downplayed the Communist "threat", he was an anti-fascist (anti-fascism in the US died in the 1950s under the McCarthy era) and a political cartoonist.
I would love to make kid's books, but with the paint drying on the zombie-colored lawn duck in the backyard I somehow think I am not well suited to craft stories for kids-- even my aborted opus, "Billy's Last Big Owie", a dark tale where a kid encounters the A to Z of death (yep: death by zamboni) on a school bus and then meets his own end. Kids wouldn't read it. Everyone else would be actually unhappy.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

How are you going to celebrate the Vancouver Olympics?

This strapping you lad in China was out on the night of the Beijing Olympics. He was feeling happy-- randy even. With single women in scarce supply, he couldn't be choosy. He spied a lovely young metal bench and made his move. At first the bench resisted his advances. But he wooed her in a way that only a lonely Hong Kong resident could do. Before long, they were making babies-- bench-babies. But something wasn't right. HE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO STICK IT TO A METAL BENCH!!
He was discovered. Emergency crews were called. They couldn't separate the lovers, so they had option of removing the man from the bench (yep, I'm in the protective fetal position too); or cutting away the bench that he was stuck in (yep, I'm still curled up). They took the latter option.
When will we be able to live a society that respects a man's choice to make sweet sweet love to a bench?


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