Here in America we are, by and large, removed from the actual production of food. Meat comes from neat styrofoam trays, no longer remotely resembling the animal it once was, and that’s how we’ve come to like it. When the animals are represented at all (which is unusual), they are either made cutesy or abstract: a smiling cartoon pig, a silhouette of a bull’s head.
This is what makes Thanksgiving so interesting: it’s a time when American culture seems unusually aware of where the meat comes from. Turkeys have long outstripped Pilgrims as the primary icon of the holiday, and are generally depicted in one of two ways: realistic and dignified or cartoonish and manic. The realistic variety are drawn as large, healthy male specimens in enthusiastic display mode. They stare out with a sort of calm, detached dignity, willingly offering themselves up for our annual feast of gratitude. On the other end of the spectrum manic cartoon turkeys are goofy-looking creatures with bugging eyes, brown feathers, rainbow-colored tails, and tear-shaped red blobs dangling from their beaks like stray ketchup. The cartoon turkey’s primary goal in life is to not get eaten, and attempts endless cockamamie schemes to this end. This setup has been a staple of newspaper comic strips for years, which spend much of the month of November making jokes to the effect that turkeys, hilariously, are afraid of dying. This is how, in America, we show our appreciation for the animals we eat.
trying to remember,
once upon a time, I would
create a single polygon the shape of the perimeter of the fence line.
project this to terrain/ground
wall plus this nonplanar face
set the proflie in wall plus to have a 30 degree bend at the top about a foot down (two points) -gives a “3d” fence with barbed wire geometry at top
texture with nearest (to have forced poles at the corners – do texture accordingly) -wasnt a CDB db
then those polys were all reset to view 2x
Welcome all to the second annual end-of-year roundup of various media I consumed this year. This year I kept a list, so this is guaranteed to be comprehensive. Instead of alphabetical order, entries are listed in the order read (within each category). As in last year, recommendations are in bold. Mini-reviews provided below entries, as applicable. Starred entries I only read part of, usually books of short stories. Note: also includes movies!
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So lately I’ve been asking myself: Why does no one comment on my blog anymore? Well, apparently it’s because I’m a moron who doesn’t realize that comments are moderated by default. I’ve approved the significant backlog of old comments (some of which are truly delightful, I must say) and will be checking them from now on so that they’ll actually, you know, appear. I apologize to all of you who spent the time writing comments only to have them vanish into the aether. I’ll do better now!
Edit: I’ve posted replies to many of your old comments. Thanks for your patience, everyone.
A couple months ago I was invited by Packt Publishing to review some early drafts of their new Blender manual, Blender 3D Basics by Gordon Fisher. I can’t say I was a huge amount of help (to be honest, I forgot one of the chapters I was supposed to work on and totally missed the deadline) but still it was an honor to be recognized as a Blender authority. I can’t say I ever expected to be seen as such, but I guess years of practice and community involvement have got to pay off somehow. (Kidding, of course…Blender skills are their own reward.)
So anyway, the book is in print and it’s got my name on the contributor’s page and I’m pretty excited about that. That is all.
This is a fateful date. You are probably already aware that it is Pi Day (especially so at 1:59) but it is also, coincidentally, the day that the Zarks were born. For it was on Pi Day in 2002 that I happened to create, almost absent-mindedly, a creature called a Zark to serve as a bit enemy in the embarrassingly-titled comic Space Kid. I’ve related this story a million times before, so I’ll just give the synopsis:
- Zarks turn out to be cooler than Space Kid
- Zarks gradually take over comic
- Zarks go on to star in video games and stuff
And so, to celebrate the first ten years of Zarkdom, I present the following show of rare and/or unseen images from their storied lineage. And if that’s not enough, I also offer you a digital copy of the complete Zirconius comics, a guide to the Easter Eggs of Into the Titan, and some old backstory: Maz’s journal. (Links are below the fold.) Share and enjoy.
So, they’ve appropriated a character who preaches not just an environmental message, but also an anti-consumerism message, and they’re using him in advertisements. Advertisements! Advertisements for cars! I don’t care if he is fictional… this is slander.
And, on a side note, how do you make a movie out of Dr. Seuss and get a PG rating? Actually, forget asking how, what about why? Also who, when and where. Someone has to account for this whole travesty.
Today I shut down the old WordPress MU version of this site by simply logging in through FTP and deleting the directory. Very efficient, but unbeknownst to me, all the images from the old blog posts were still stored inside it. So that means all the images older than last July or so are gone. Sigh. There’s not really any way to get them back, either, and it would take many hours to put them back together (assuming I can even find the source files for most of these), so I’m just going to shrug this one off. Should anyone want to see any of this stuff, just let me know and I’ll attempt to piece it together again. I should have known better, really.
Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of books as I read them, so I had to assemble this list in retrospect. As such, it may be revised as I remember other things. Unreserved recommendations are in bold, but should not be interpreted as slights against other books. As you’ll see, if I’d followed through on my illustration project, I’d have a lot of illustrations now. Maybe next year?
Alexie, Sherman. Indian Killer.
Atwood, Margaret. The Edible Woman.
Banks, Russel. Lost Memory of Skin.
Carver, Raymond. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (part)
Davidson, Lionel. Under Plum Lake.
Coupland, Douglas. Player One.
Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Evans, Nicholas. The Brave.
Franzen, Jonathan. Freedom.
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Handler, Daniel. Adverbs. (part)
Jin, Ha. Waiting.
Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth.
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace.
Mamet, David. Oleanna.
Mamet, David. The Old Religion.
Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore.
Murakami, Haruki. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Powers, Richard. Galatea 2.2
Russo, Richard. Empire Falls.
Russo, Richard. That Old Cape Magic.
Scott, Joanna. Make Believe.
Shakespeare, William “The Bard.” King Lear.
Snicket, Lemony. The Bad Beginning.
Wolff, Tobias. Our Story Begins. (part)
Yu, Charles. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.
Favorite fiction book this year: Empire Falls. This book will keep influencing my work for a long time, I think. Strong sense of place and good character interaction.
Least favorite fiction book this year: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I can’t begin listing the myriad problems with this book. I still can’t believe I read the whole thing. Read Victor Lodato’s Mathilda Savitch instead.
Atwood, Margaret. In Other Worlds. (part)
Brunetti, Ivan. Cartooning.
Berlioz, Hector. Evenings with the Orchestra. (part)
Decker, Kevin S. et al. Star Trek and Philosophy. (part)
Ehrman, Bart. Misquoting Jesus.
Mauro, James. Twilight at the World of Tomorrow.
Ross, Alex. Listen to This. (part)
Schumacher, Michael. Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics.
Steinberg, Avi. Running the Books.
Favorite non-fiction this year: Twilight at the World of Tomorrow is full of entertaining characters and enthusiasm drawn from the historic 1939 World’s Fair. I really enjoyed it.
Least favorite non-fiction this year: Hector Berlioz’s diatribes against Chinese music in Evenings with the Orchestra. Debussy, a few years later, would find much inspiration in the same stuff Berlioz dismissed out-of-hand. (The book isn’t bad overall though.)
Brunetti, Ivan (ed.). Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories v. 2.
Clowes, Daniel. Ice Haven.
Clowes, Daniel. Wilson.
Cotter, Joshua W. Skyscrapers of the Midwest.
Eisner, Will. The Contract With God Trilogy.
Herge. Tintin and the Picaros. (read before)
Herge. Tintin: Castafiore Emerald, The. (read before)
Herge. Tintin: Flight 714. (read before)
Herge. Tintin in Tibet. (read before)
Hines, Adam. Duncan the Wonder Dog v. 1.
Karasik, Paul et al. City of Glass.
Mazzuchelli, David. Asterios Polyp. (read before)
Novgorodoff, Danica. Slow Storm.
Ottaviani, Jim et al. Feynman.
Powell, Nate. Any Empire.
Powell, Nate. Swallow Me Whole.
Shaw, Dash. Bottomless Belly Button.
Sikoryak, R. Masterpiece Comics.
Tardi, Jacques. Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec v. 1.
Thompson, Craig. Blankets.
Thompson, Craig. Habibi.
Thompson, Richard. Cul de Sac Treasury.
Ward, Lynd. Six Novels in Woodcuts v. 1
Ware, Chris. Acme Novelty Library #20 (“Lint”).
Favorite comics this year: Swallow Me Whole. Beautiful art and a haunting story of two children with schizophrenia.
Least favorite comics this year: Slow Storm. Not bad exactly, but the art’s a little muddy and the story kind of disjointed. It’s a debut, though, and Ms. Novgorodoff certainly has potential. Also frustrating: Craig Thompson’s ill-advised epic Habibi.
Size of dot reflects character’s proximity to camera. Orange line indicates the character’s duration within the series. Characters who never appeared on a cover: Stephenson and Ritchie.
Color swatches show basic palette of cover art. Apparently the best way to imitate a Sunrise cover would be to use a lot of gray, a little sky blue, and desaturated colors.