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Showing posts from 2007

An Atheist's Creation Myth

In the beginning, there was no beginning. Instead, there was nothing. How much time might have passed, had there been time while this state persisted, cannot be said.

Anything might have been birthed into this void. Probably, a number of real and imaginary objects came into and out of existence, there being no laws to stop such occurrences, and nothing to sustain them. Indeed, in the absence of physical and logical laws, something could come from nothing--and that is exactly how God came to be.

Noticing nothing else in existence, God fashioned the universe, an orderly mess, in clear counterpoint to the neat chaos of the void.

Being, as an author once put it, "unstuck in time", God saw everything that ever was or would be in its creations, all at once. God also watched the universe as it unfolded, seeing each act only as it transpired. And, then, God did not see any of it at all. Yes, God did and did not do all of this at the same time. For although it had made logical and physi…

Blue Scholars' Bayani

Mad different from their live, band-backed show, but still tight. It's nice to have my hands on it a month before it comes out nationally. Hopefully, when it drops, its publisher, Rawkus, will help it get the recognition it deserves. This shit could be a crossover hit if it just gets enough exposure. If the Seattle hip-hop scene is going to break nationally, this is the level its albums will have to be at.

Though it's pop friendly, Bayani stands as an artistic move forward for Geo and Sabzi, both of whom show growth in their trade on this disc. More importantly, the two have exhibited greater synergy with each new release. Their latest record has an expanded sound; each track sets its own tone while remaining consistent with the whole of the album. As has been pointed out in local reviews, it doesn't entirely abandon the boom-bap sound or leftist principles that made the Scholars local heroes. There are a few party tracks that could be bumped by some frat boys without much…

Blue Scholars CD release party pretty impressive.

Caught the show on Saturday, the second of two sold out gigs at the Showbox in downtown Seattle. It's been a while since I saw the duo live. In fact, the last time I caught them, it was the release party for their first edition of their debut disc back in '04. That was at a little club in the International District, and might have had about 100 people in attendance, most of them friends of the groups playing.

This was a little different. The all ages show was packed with teenagers who fucking love the Blue Scholars. I knew they had become popular, but this still surprised me. It was crazy.

As fans filed in, a lackluster DJ played a laid back, informal set. It was nice to have something other than a pretaped playlist running, as most shows tend to have, but this guy needs to work on his transitions, nevermind his scratching. Dude played for about fourty-five minutes before we were treated to a much more impressive performance from Kidz in the Hall. I guarantee you 90% of the cro…

Just had a thought.

You'll forgive me if I quote myself.

Made a GameFAQs thread, entitled, "A proposition sans argument: All happening and being is done in the real world." Still haven't offered an argument, exactly, but I have had to flesh out my original post, "Human thought and action, for example, are real world occurrences. Concepts and ideas held and expressed by people exist as such. The notion that, for example, mathematic truths exist independent of physical reality is poppycock."

In doing so, I remarked, "Thinking is no less an action than breathing, and it is very often as overt." Going over the thread, it struck me, this is a really cool analogy. As with thought, though we can directly control our breathing, it often comes naturally, and without premeditation or prior intent. It sometimes goes unnoticed, either by ourselves or others. It can be concealed and, with greater effort, temporarily stopped by the person breathing. It is also a process dealing with…

Sans expliquer, de ma sketchbook:

The upshot of a thorough going and tenable moral relativism or a similar rejection of moral absolutism or moral objectivism is not that morals, moral sets, and moral systems cannot be judged, but they should not be judged in an absolute or objective manner. In looking at an ethical issue and in evaluation a moral judgment or system, it may serve us to remember there are other useful and perhaps equally feasible approaches one may take. This is the biggest change (in my opinion) between a stance that holds morality as relative or subjective (in my case also denying moral realism) and one that calls it absolute. One does not deny oneself the opportunity to discuss or debate more issues, to have an opinion about morals, to make moral pronouncements, or to engage in other such games merely by accepting that moral absolutism does not attain.

This presents us with a painless transition, which begs the question: why are so many so resistant to moral relativism and the like? It's not as t…

In other news...

I've made some progress scripting a comic whose concept has been bouncing around in my head for years now. It's been coming along nicely.

Initial set up is for a hitman (or hitwoman, in this case) to basically decide she wants out after running into a hit (performed by someone else, of course) so perfect there's no longer any reason for her to pursue the fine art of murder. The plot goes a little further than that before it flattens out into broad sketches, but what explication I have so far mostly covers that bare premise.

Just to give you an idea of how long this has been rolling through my mind, this sketch is from 2002 at the latest.

Just got a job at Starbucks.

Shift supervisor, with a decent starting wage. Working downtown at a store that pulls a fair tip rate. Full benefits in 3 months--medical, dental, optical, 401K, stock options--chance of a promotion or raise in 6. Technically started today, though my training begins on Monday, and I won't be working full time for a couple weeks. Good news.

Sociopaths for justice!

Recently watched Hard Candy and Payback: Straight Up. Neither may have a lead character that is actually a sociopath in the now obsolete technical sense, but whatever. Both have a hardcore, crazy, yet principled lead. Sort of like Darkman.

>_>

<_<

Ahem.

Hard Candy is a tough watch at times. It's about a 15 year old girl who hooks up with 30 year old man she met on the net, and goes home with him. The much publicized twist is that she isn't interested in fucking him, and he isn't about to take advantage of her. Quite the opposite, actually. She spends most of the movie physically and emotionally torturing her would be lover. She is almost unwavering in her confidence she's doing the right thing.

The vast majority of the film is spent in a house with just characters, and these somewhat confining aspects can add to the overall uncomfortable feeling of the movie. It's sort of like a light, morally complex, Americanized Funny Games with really beautiful photogra…

Speaking of output.

I've gone from averaging 3 posts here a week to 5 posts in a month, and the average is only that high because of my earlier activity. So. In an attempt to get more typed up, if only for myself, I'll be posting stuff I've written elsewhere at least once a week from now until I run out of material or decide otherwise. Which probably means the effort won't last, but so what? If nothing else, it'll give me a chance to edit and clarify some of my thoughts.

But not today. >_>

Creative Output: nil

I find the most frustrating periods in my life have been where I cannot make anything both substantial and artistic. Plays, short stories, brief essays, comics, drawings. Cheap, little sketches that act as records of my fingers twitching do not fucking count. I don't mind overmuch that my output is not exactly prolific, but I would like it to be steady. Could do to buckle down and force things out, but I'm almost never happy with the results of efforts along those lines. Might be because I have trouble committing to such a program, but whatever. I don't do this stuff out of a desire for discipline.

Fah.

I feel so inarticulate when I set out to express myself in one of these moods, and it only gets worse when I try to do something creative.

Cynicism?

Why is it, when Damon Albarn sings, "I'm a darkened soul. My streets are pop music and coke," I figure he's primarily warning me against the evils of the Dixie Chicks and cocaine, instead of, say, talking about his obsession with his music and Coca Cola?

Will Eisner's To the Heart of the Storm

Like Blankets, To the Heart of the Storm is a memoir of youth, and very much worth reading. However, while Craig Thompson's art is moving, evocative, and highly poetic, Eisner's work in Storm is simply masterful in its heavy use of realism and selective reliance upon more subtle symbolism.

The novel opens with a brief explanation in prose of the general feeling of the draft, and the effect it had on those it brought in to the armed services in the very late '30s and early forties, before it drops us next to Willie, himself drafted into World War II. Riding a train to boot camp, Eisner stares out a window, framing his stories there. From this initial vantage, we are shown and then brought into his childhood in episodic fashion. We are given very atmospheric tellings of his parents' histories before Eisner goes on to tell us of himself: his fights, his first romantic experiences, early jobs, friendships, the racism he faced as a Jew, and the 'old world' politics …

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Absolutely awesome. It doesn't hit you at first. You flip through it, and, sure, it's got some nifty layouts, but the inking doesn't draw you in. No, it's the writing that does it. This is why it's nowhere near as pretentious as you might think for the book to be subtitled 'an illustrated novel by CRAIG THOMPSON'. But here's the thing, just as Will Eisner envisioned for the genre, Craig is able to make you read the art just as much as his writing. Blankets is replete with visual metaphor, literal flights of fancy, and real, honest feeling. Even the linework and lettering fit beautifully and (more suprisingly) explicitly into the way you read things. Brilliant.

Someday, maybe you'll walk into your local comic shop, or some big Barnes and Noble, whatever; you'll see Blankets chilling there, waiting for you to pick it up. The natural response will be to flip through and remark, disinterestedly, "Cool," before you walk on to something new.…