DRAWING #3, UPDATE #1.
I know, I still haven't scanned the final completed Trafalgar Square/National Gallery drawing, but I want to do it on a professional scanner at Mailboxes Etc. so I can scan it all in one chunk and don't have to piece together several chunks that don't quite line up properly in Photoshop.
This is actually the second scan I've done, the first one having been done several days ago, when I had much less of the area I scanned yet to draw.
It is of the same area of the drawing that I scanned the "skeleton" of two weeks ago
, showing what one of my drawings look like before I start to add the colour.
This drawing is based on this photograph of Covent Garden market in London
, and what I've drawn so far is Southampton Street. I'm working from right to left, for the most part, so very little of the actual market itself has been drawn yet.
I pretty much like the way I drew the anonymous guy who stood in the shot and "posed" for me (intentionally or unintentionally, I really don't know), though I drew his eyelashes a little dark, so his eyes remind me a bit of the way some Indian boys wear ceremonial mascara for some Hindu festival. I'm certainly going to fix some things about his face, but I'm going to keep the way I emphasized his eyes, which actually were kind of blurry in the original photo, so I'm taking a little creative license.
The red British phone booth is a little crooked compared to the building just behind it. I will probably fix that.
I was pleased that I was able to draw a tiny logo for the Body Shop store in the background, though the "Dept. Store" for the Covent Garden Doc Marten store isn't too clear.
Also, I'm using up most of my remaining Cool Grey 20% (PC 1060) and Warm Grey 20% (PC 1051) Prismacolor coloured pencils, and the annoying thing for me is that I went to two different Michaels Arts and Crafts stores1
, at Pinecrest and South Keys, and neither one sold those exact colours individually. Instead, they had, as the lightest greys, Cool Grey 30% (PC 1061) and Warm Grey 30% (PC 1052), which are, if you do the math, 50% darker than the pencils I had before, and which are just too dark to draw the lighter areas of many London buildings with, as well as too dark to draw paving stones that are reflecting sunlight. The only way to buy the 20% greys at these two Michaels stores would be to buy the packs of Prismacolors with every single colour, and I'm afraid that I'm don't have $180 to spend on coloured pencils right now, and, even if I did, it wouldn't be worth it just to replace two colours. I suppose I could just mix in some white when I draw buildings using the 30%, but, when I do that, the colours don't look quite as solid as they do when they are base colours. Bottom line, America? Michaels stores in Ottawa should start keeping the 20% grey Prismacolor pencils in stock again, or Sanford should let me order new Prismacolor pencils right off their new Prismacolor website
.1 Yes, for reasons unknown, "Michaels" does not take an apostrophe, even in Ontario.
SLIGHTLY AMUSING BLOCKBUSTER ANECDOTE...
Hmm... for legal reasons, I probably shouldn't identify the person involved in this story. It involves the semi-intentional wanton destruction of Blockbuster property, though something that probably only costs a few cents each.
So, "nameless" walked over to a Blockbuster store on M_______ on Thursday evening, not entirely sure what he was going to rent. He had just eaten a lot of Chinese food the previous two evenings, since it was his father's birthday on the Tuesday and they had ordered so much food that it took them two suppers to finish it all.
At some point during the walk, "nameless" got the idea that he might want to rent the lesser-known 1992 Hayao Miyazaki movie, Porco Rosso
, which he had seen a couple of times before, but both times were almost a decade ago at an anime club at the Université de M_______. He was kind of curious about how celebrated French actor Jean Reno would sound as Marco Pagott in the French-language dub (which is included on the DVD as well as the English-language dub, with Michael Keaton, and the original Japanese audio), but, somehow, this was the first time since the release of the DVD in March that he was actually in the mood to watch it.
So, he got to the Blockbuster just before midnight, picked Porco Rosso
off the shelf, didn't see any other movies which struck his fancy, paid for the rental, and returned home.
It wasn't until Friday evening that "nameless" noticed a little something odd about his rental. You know how, when you usually rent a DVD from Blockbuster, they remove the yellow security strip thingy from the side of the case so you can open it? Guess what the clerk at M_______ Blockbuster forgot to remove?
"Nameless" was unable to get the DVDs from the case as the yellow security strip thingy was still in the case. He could have just walked back to M_______ Blockbuster and asked them to remove it, but he was in a lazy mood. He decided to see if he could try removing the security strip himself, without damaging the case.
Could it be done?
It wasn't that easy, though. Since "nameless" didn't have one of those handheld things that are designed to take out the shoplifting prevention device, he had to improvise with a pair of scissors. He had to cut off the flat top of the strip, and then used the blades of the scissors to squeeze the sides of the strip, which he could only access the top few centimetres of because of the way the case was designed.
After many tries, it worked, but it was like pulling teeth. According to the guy, whom shall remain nameless. I... umm... just happened to read about this story somewhere obscure that won't show up on Google and thought I'd share it.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ENJOY ANIME RIP-OFF CONSPIRACY THEORIES...
I admit it. I love the rip-off conspiracy theories that some anime fanboys can concoct each time they notice a similarity between an anime and an American film, TV show, or comic book. Not that I believe them for a second; the vast majority of rip-off claims have no serious merit, and even Kimba vs. The Lion King
is a lot more tenuous than some of the anti-Disney fanboys would have you believe. It's one thing to point out similarities between two works, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do, but it's another thing to prove "cause-and-effect", especially if you have an insufficient grounding in non-anime science-fiction beyond Star Wars
and Star Trek
and other works of fiction that may have inspired both productions. (Hell, a lot of the younger generation of anime fanboys have an insufficient grounding in anime that existed much before 1995 to be able to be much of an authority on anything, not knowing that, for example, as someone pointed out somewhere I forget, Cowboy Bebop
's Spike Spiegel sure does look an awful lot like Lupin the Third's cousin.) Plus, even in cases where there is some legitimate anime influence, with the most obvious example being The Matrix
borrowing a few visual elements from Ghost in the Shell
, too many anime fanboys confuse "rip-off" with "homage" in their quest to prove that, as I believe Anime News Network forum poster Lord Byronius
once said (sarcastically, in response to some rip-off claim), "ANIME IS THE BESTEST THING EVAR" and everyone else wants to blatantly steal from it because anime is the only thing in the world that is creative and which never borrows ideas from anything else. Rrrrrright.
Basically, I enjoy rip-off conspiracy theories as indictments of the tendency to jump to conclusions those sorts of anime fans who lack "perspective" tend to have. They're glorious displays of stupidity and wankage.
Two of my favourite anime rip-off conspiracy theories are that the Fox sci-fi series Firefly
(of which the upcoming movie Serenity
is a direct sequel) ripped-off the manga and anime series, Outlaw Star
, and that Disney's Atlantis
ripped-off the 1989 Gainax series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
(a.k.a. Nadia and the Sea of Mystery
. I discussed Outlaw Star
a little bit in this recent entry
and I also linked to this Anime News Network thread from 2002
where it was debunked in more detail. As for Nadia
, it's been exhaustively debunked point-by-point, far more eloquently than I could possibly do, by Über-Nadia
expert Dr. Marc Hairston, though his debunking page sadly seems to have been taken down, so here's the Internet Archive mirror
But, what I should have been asking myself all along is whether there is a missing link between the two rip-off conspiracy theories.
Turns out that there is.
Just to add some grist to the bullshit rumour mill, here's an interesting item from a very thorough interview with Firefly creator (and Serenity director) Joss Whedon
in the National Association of Theatre Owner's online magazine, In Focus
. Interviewer Jim Kozak is asking about all stages of Whedon's career.
I did not know this, but Joss Whedon also used to be a script doctor for Disney.
Which Disney project were you working on when you got the “Toy Story” call?
I was working on, let’s see, it was either “Marco Polo” … First they wanted to do “Journey to the Center of the Earth” meets “The Man Who Would Be King,” which eventually became “Atlantis,” which is why I’m credited on it. Because I was the first writer on it, even though I had not a shred in it.
Then they said, “No, wait, we want to do ‘My Fair Lady’ with Marco Polo.” Which I not only wrote a script for, I actually wrote the lyrics for three songs that [veteran stage composer] Robert Lindsey Nassif wrote the music to.
Ah-ha-ha-ha! So Whedon, who so obviously ripped-off Outlaw Star
(sarcasm), was a script doctor on the project that eventually became Atlantis
, which so obviously ripped-off Nadia
. Curse you, Joss Whedon! Is there any anime you won't pillage for ideas? (Come to think of it, the conspiracy theorists also sometimes claim that Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer
rips-off Sailor Moon
, which was only just starting in Japan roughly when the original Buffy
movie was finishing production, and Devil Hunter Yohko
, which I don't think was available on VHS in 1992.)'
Never mind that Whedon was only a script-doctor and wasn't involved in the project long enough to have any creative influence. I'm trying to promote my brilliant Grand Unified Theory of Joss Whedon's Ultimate Anime Rip-Offitude! I have a grain of truth that shall be my solid bedrock, so I don't need facts to get in the way! The seriousness of the charge is important, not the nature of the evidence!
Maybe I still do like stirring shit up occasionally.BONUS!
A classic thread in Anime Nation
's "Ask John" subforum where I (as Kiyone) debunk a claim that The Matrix rips-off Serial Experiments Lain
. (The Matrix
was already almost finished shooting when Lain
first aired on Japanese television. The agents in The Matrix
and the Knights in Lain
are just the same shadowy government spook archetype.)
And a thread where I prove to John Oppliger himself that the alleged deleted scene from The Matrix that sounds exactly like a scene from the somewhat similar Megazone 23
was in fact an April Fool's Day newsgroup hoax
, which the author of the post later confessed to
PIERRE BERNARD GOES TO A STARGATE CONVENTION...
(originally entitled "IN CASE ANYONE'S WONDERING...")
Yes, I did see the Late Night with Conan O'Brien
video segment last night with Pierre Bernard as a featured guest at a Stargate SG-1
convention, but I didn't immediately talk about it as it wasn't a "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage" segment per se
and I'm waiting for the video of it to appear at Gateworld
as I didn't tape it.EDIT:
Oh, geez, some Stargate
fans in the Gateworld forum are actually complaining about the comedy bit
. Not because it was particularly mean, mind you. This bit was most certainly NOT a Stargate
-themed version of the most famous Triumph the Insult Comic Dog comedy bit of all, Triumph making fun of Star Wars
fans waiting in line to see Attack of the Clones
, since Pierre Bernard is a real person who is a real fan of the series and not a sarcastic puppet, and Stargate
fandom doesn't seem to be quite as into "cosplay" as, say, Star Wars
fans, Star Trek
fans, or, of course, anime fans, meaning that, while their interest in a lesser-known sci-fi franchise is still geeky to the core, there was little of the excesses of other fandoms on display at the Creation Entertainment official Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis convention
in Secaucus, New Jersey last weekend. The most eccentric guy shown in the piece was this one very nervous guy who was wearing a Tom Baker-era Doctor Who
scarf his friend made and who had a rather humiliating time trying to repeat the joke he always tells about why he wears the scarf at conventions. (He thinks it will be cold because of all the fans
in the room, get it?) I suppose his awkwardness in telling a joke is funny in a The Office
sort of way, but, for eccentricity, he's no Blackwolf the Dragonmaster
Nah, they're complaining because they didn't show enough of the stars or of the convention itself, like they were expecting a comedy piece to be a documentary. Uhh... the piece wasn't really about Stargate
fans, it was about Pierre Bernard himself, not quite capitalizing on but certainly reveling in his newfound Über-fan status within a fandom that is, in many ways, very similar to anime fandom. (The two fandoms aren't quite comparable, since anime fandom encompasses fans of a whole spectrum of shows in wildly different genres within a medium, whilst Stargate
is just two intertwined TV series and a Roland Emmerich movie1
. But I can easily lump Stargate
fandom and anime fandom together because, while they both have large niche followings (with the Stargate
TV shows getting about three or four times the ratings of the best-rated Adult Swim anime), the characters and situations of the shows are virtually unknown to people who aren't fans.) Unlike Star Wars
or Star Trek
, there is little mainstream public awareness of who the major players in the Stargate
universe are, so showing most of the stars, at least of those at the events, would be pretty pointless (especially now that MacGyver
's Richard Dean Anderson has left the show). And, like I said, convention-going Stargate
fans seem, by and large, to be more low-key than people in some other fandoms, so a room of guys in normal clothing or the military-ish uniforms that most of the Stargate
characters wear simply does not have the same entertainment value for non-fans as a room of Darth Vaders and Stormtroopers and Wookies and Klingons (if the Klingons somehow ended up in the Star Wars
convention room by mistake).
Not that Pierre didn't try and capitalize on his fame at all; he was trying to pawn off a photo of him with both the Stargate SG-1
and "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage" logos to a autographed photo dealer.
The segment wasn't "Ha-ha funny" like the Triumph Star Wars
bit, but that's not to say that it was humourless, it's just that the humour is dry and a lot more subdued since Pierre doesn't exactly have the most "electric" personality in the world. In other words, it is the King of the Hill
to the Triumph Star Wars
bit's Family Guy
fans should just be happy that the show got some kind of mainstream exposure, and Pierre's small-scale promotion of the show does help bring in new viewers, since I do find myself tuning in occasionally now, not that I'd exactly call myself a huge fan or attempt to answer anything but the most basic of Stargate
trivia questions, but, as someone who never really watched the show before Pierre Bernard visited the set
, it did at least pique my interest a bit.
I still haven't found a video of the segment, but This page
has a first hand account from an audience member of Pierre Bernard's appearance at the convention, and this page
has video of both Pierre Bernard's original anti-Daniel Jackson rant and the segment where Pierre visited the set of the show.1 The Roland Emmerich Stargate film is roughly to the Stargate TV shows what the original 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie is to the TV series of the same name, an earlier treatment of the same general premise that lacks the depth of the later TV series incarnation since it had to tell a self-contained story in just two hours or so.
STRONG BAD SINGS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!
Over at Homestar Runner
, this week's "Strong Bad E-mail"
, features Strong Bad claiming he answered the question as to how to get ladies "like, 5 or 6 years ago. In fact, I think it mighta been the first email I ever checked." and throws to a faux circa 1999 "sbemail", done in the style of the "lost" early Homestar Runner toon, "Marshmallow's Last Stand"
. Except it's so old, that the Cheat only has it on LaserDisc
. "The Cheat's playin' something on a LaserDisc.
Everything is better on a LaserDisc.
Whatever happened to the LaserDisc?
So true. I got a LaserDisc player in the spring of 1997, just as they were beginning to be supplanted by DVD, and, while I don't miss the big LaserDisc prices ($80 Canadian for the dub-only My Neighbor Totoro
?) and while I don't miss the scarcity of disks in the stores, especially after the end of 1997, there is just nothing like pulling one of those Texas-sized silver saucers from the sleeve and listening to the player purr. Those disks are so big, I feel more virile just holding them. And I never bothered replacing both of the Spielberg-directed Jurassic Park
films (of which I am one of the few people who prefer The Lost World
to the original, especially for the San Diego scenes), since it just feels appropriate to watch a film about dinosaurs on a video format that is large and extinct.
(Song lyrics stolen from the Homestar Runner Wiki
WTF? (WHAT'S TARGET 'FINKING?)
Okay, Target's new back-to-school advertising campaign includes a commercial for backpacks with a reworked-lyrics version of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"
. ("I like big butts and I cannot lie. You other brothers can't deny." "My anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns hon.")
You can see the ad on Target's Channel Red website
. (Launch the video screen and, currently, it's the second ad, "Baby Got Back... Pack".)
What the fuck?
I don't have a problem with the original song; it's great bawdy, slightly naughty, fun with lyrics that are almost like an "urban" American version of the sorts of risqué-but-harmless lyrics that Benny Hill would sing on his TV programme. Anyone who's a fan of Beavis and Butt-Head
will remember that Beavis and Butt-Head were awestruck by the song in one of the best music video bits ever, a segment that likely made the song a crossover hit with us white folks. (It's too bad that we will likely never see the segment on DVD, due to the fact that the music rights would be astronomical.) And I loved seeing Cameron Diaz shake her tush to it in Charlie's Angels
, which is still my favourite movie from 2000. (Yes, I said that with a straight face; I didn't care that much for any of the Oscar bait that year.)
But, and this is a big but (and I can't deny), I'm afraid that I'm rather uncomfortable seeing preteen children associated in any way with the song, since "Baby Got Back" most certainly is NOT a children's song. Even if the lyrics have been de-sexed ("We like backpacks and we can't deny. With a cell phone pocket on the side."), just seeing kids bopping around to the tune of the song makes me a bit uneasy. It just seems... wrong. Just a bit ill-conceived, in my opinion.
(Plus, how can a back-to-school ad use a song with a grammatically-incorrect title? It should be "Baby's got back"!)
I'm not going to boycott Target over this, not that I could even if I wanted to since we don't have Target stores in Canada, but someone at whichever advertising agency Target uses should be demoted for an appauling lack of judgement.I'm not the only person who has problems with the spot either
(though I started writing this entry before I noticed that).
STUPID THINGS THAT I'M WASTING FAR TOO MUCH MENTAL ENERGY THINKING ABOUT.
In that animated Ritz Chips commercial currently being shown on Canadian TV (the one with the song that goes something like, "I like it like that!"), is that William Shatner's voice as the supermarket announcer saying "Samples of Ritz Chips, Aisle Nine"?
That little sound byte is repeating itself over and over in my head, because it sounds exactly like William Shatner, and I mean like the way Shatner actually talks, not like someone doing a bad William Shatner impersonation, but I can't find any confirmation that it's him on Google.
Here in Canada, the Montreal-born William Shatner mainly does commercials for Kellogg's All-Bran cereal, and he also showed up on the "Anthem" commercial for Molson Canadian, so it's not unthinkable that he'd be doing a Ritz Chips commercial, but I'm not sure that Nabisco would be paying the big Shatner bucks for a short, inconsequential, uncredited voice-over part.
The best Shatner commercial of all time has still got to be the one with Shatner promoting the Commodore Vic-20, "the Wonder Computer of the 1980s"
. (By the time we got one, it was already the "Has-Been Computer of the late 1970s".)
R.I.P. PETER JENNINGS
One of Ottawa's most famous native citizens has died of lung cancer.
From ABC News:
" ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings died today at his home in New York City. He was 67. On April 5, Jennings announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Kayce Freed, his two children, Elizabeth, 25, and Christopher, 23, and his sister, Sarah Jennings.
"Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in peace. He knew he'd lived a good life," his wife and children said in a statement.
In announcing Jennings' death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote:
"For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.
"As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.
"We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do."
I do have a particular attachment to Peter Jennings that I didn't have with Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather, not just because he was a Canadian, but also because ABC World News Tonight
was the only one of the big three American nightly newscasts I could watch on my Casio TV riding on the AMT communter train back home to Pincourt (from WVNY-22, the ABC affiliate in Burlington VT). I watched the American evening news sometimes up through my mid-twenties, but, after September 11th
, I tried to watch the American news every night, and ABC World News Tonight
was my newscast of choice.
I don't want to be a know-it-all, but, while very sad and very premature, I can't say I wasn't expecting his death, considering that, when he announced that he was suffering from lung cancer in April, he was still supposed to appear in regular segments to document his living with cancer and he was still hoping to be the anchorman on those days when he was able to speak normally, yet I don't think he had actually appeared on television since the initial announcement.
Also, it's rather telling that ABC News already had the death reel prepared.
Regardless, he will be missed.