Archive for July, 2008


Welcome to Crater Lake National Park

Photo taken from near Garfield Peak. Crater Lake still has some snow drifts; you can see them near the water.crater-lake-map welcome-to-crater-lake


Eugene ’08

On the 4th of July I ran in the Butte to Butte 10K in Eugene, Oregon. I wrote up a little piece about it and it got published on the venerable Travel Oregon website!

Read my Eugene travelogue HERE!

Many thanks to my friend Jody and her parents for being such wonderful hosts. They epitomize the Eugene spirit.


ranking the comics

Most newspaper editors keep “legacy” strips (those comic strips that have outlived their creators) based on a negative-feedback system. That is, they may try to pull, say, Blondie, but quickly recapitulate when a few irate readers write or call to complain. They don’t get a lot of positive feedback (eg “You should run Cul de Sac because it’s actually funny“). There must be a better way to find out which comics are actually being read in the newspapers.

The Nielson Ratings, although somewhat obtuse, seem to work for television networks. They can judge how successful a show is by its number of viewers. Box office sales determine the success of a movie. Bookstores literally count the number of books sold, which contributes to bestseller lists.

The popularity of comics is a harder commodity to tabulate. You can’t judge how many people flip to that section of the newspaper, let alone which comics they peruse.

One good indicator of a comic strip’s popularity is how well it sells when collected into book form. Calvin and Hobbes books were still selling very well when I worked at a bookstore, and that was about seven years after Watterson decided to retire from the biz. I never saw a Blondie book collection, although the local paper did run it. That isn’t the only comic not to be regularly collected. Check the newspaper, then check your local bookstore or Amazon. Some comics really do disappear after they run in the paper.

Another indicator might be how often that comic is viewed online. People who don’t believe computers are the Great Satan like to read comics on the internet. I would like to ask the syndicates which comics receive the highest hit counts per day. Instead of hiding this information, syndicates should be sending it to every news organization. What comic is #1 online? Just like people are interested in the top-grossing movie of the week, we would love to follow the success of our favorite comic strip characters.

Knowing which comics are the most popular would only increase people’s interest overall. How often do comics get mentioned in mainstream media when they’re not being made into a movie or TV show? Talking about comics for the sake of comics would get people more interested in the art form itself. It would also turn the conversation from the dreadful “all comics are stale and out-of-touch” to a more positive tone.

So what do you say, syndicates? Is there a way to tabulate the most widely-read comics of today?


Painted Friday Robots

I don’t paint that often, so when I do I like to make it look different from my line drawing. Between writing and drawing children’s books, Dr. Seuss made some pretty incredible paintings. I’m no Dr. Seuss, but I like the idea of continually trying new things.painted-friday-robot-squid painted-friday-robot-towers

I layered acrylic, watercolor, gauche, and marker for these robots. I think I could have gone more abstract, but then they wouldn’t have been Friday Robots.

Have a good weekend; don’t do anything these robots wouldn’t do.

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“My Heart”

Written 3.18.01
Revised 7.19.08

My heart is like a vast ocean: it is filled with crustaceans called krill which whales eat.
My heart swells for you like the rising tide: surfers ride it in competition and it carries sea shells to the sandy beach.
My heart is open like the vast Pacific: planes carrying tourists travel 12 hours to cross it, but that is recent. It used to be Magellan in his boat.
My heart is like a mirror: it reflects people doing their hair.
My heart is like a tape recorder, except instead of receiving sounds, it emits them. It needs an A/C power source or 4 D-size batteries. Some days it eats the tape and of course that’s not covered by warranty.
My heart is like a big fat peach. It goes bad really quickly if you don’t keep it in the refrigerator. Every third week, it goes on sale for $1.99/lb. You’re out of luck if you don’t have the Super Value Card.
My heart rings out like a bell tower. A small hunchbacked man used to operate it, but he’s dead now.fish-heart

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Impact Crater or Caldera: Which is Cooler?

It’s an age-old question: is a meteor impact cooler than a volcano? Scientific geniuses such as Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, and Stephen J. Gould spent their entire lives trying to answer the question, to no avail. They all cried in their offices, hoping the world would just forget them. It has. We at Falling Rock have no discernible scientific credentials, but we will attempt to crack the hardest nut of them all.

We must first acknowledge that both types of craters are undeniably cool. A meteor crater screams through space, only to be stopped by a larger body, such as the Earth. A volcano explodes, rains death and destruction upon the surrounding countryside, and then goes quiet, leaving a gaping hole where the molten lava used to be. For the most part, when you approach a crater you cannot see it. You look ahead: a slight rise in the ground that could be a mountain ridge. Not until you stand on the lip of the crater can you feel the full majesty hit you full in the face. You gasp at yet another example of nature’s might.

Falling Rock will rank the two formations, impact crater and caldera, but you must realize craters of any type are inherently cooler than most things. No mortal achievement can compare to the glory of a giant hole in the ground, and all that it represents.

Impact Crater

meteor crater

 

Here at Falling Rock we have a special attachment to the Meteor Crater outside Flagstaff, Arizona. The Southwest holds the majority of the country’s stunning geological features (followed closely by the Pacific Northwest) and the Meteor Crater is one of the most mysterious. Located on a flat section of the desert in the foothills of the Flagstaff mountains, the Meteor Crater remains pretty much as it looked in the moments after impact. It looks like it belongs on the moon or Mars, not in a verdant, changing world such as ours. Yet there it is, not a fossil but an empty space; evidence of the great world beyond ours.

Meteor impact craters are cool for many obvious reasons. I list them here not to insult your intelligence, but merely to present the data as articulately and objectively as possible.

Meteor craters are formed when a rock from outer space crashes into the Earth’s crust. The meteor travels so quickly and hits so hard that it actually alters the structure of the minerals in the ground at the impact site. It is a very loud event, much louder than anyone would want it to be. A person standing near the impact site would literally be blown away by its awesomeness (and have his eardrums blown out as well). If the meteor is large enough, its impact can change the Earth’s atmosphere for many years. Most scientists agree that a meteor impact near the Yucatan peninsula was the main cause of the dinosaur’s extinction. Any object that can kill off every last dinosaur demands our respect.

There is a theory that a meteor impact around 540 AD darkened the world for two years. The resulting downturn in civilizations everywhere came to be known as the Dark Ages.

Another meteoric theory holds that organic matter carried in from space was the stuff that began life on Earth. Scientists discovered rocks from Mars that lay buried in Antarctica with evidence of possible life, as well. Did a meteor hit Earth at just the right time for the rise of life as we know it? I can’t imagine a cooler scenario.

Another impact in the Earth’s history likely resulted in the creation of the moon. The Earth used to be larger, the theory goes, until a meteor hit, shattering shards of Earth into orbit. The largest of those pieces eventually coalesced into the moon.

It is safe to assume that the universe is really just hunks of matter slamming against each other. Is this the meaning of life? If so, that gives the impact crater an advantage over calderas as “coolest.” But let’s examine calderas a bit more closely before we make our final judgment.

 

Caldera

crater lake national park

Imagine the scene: 7,700 years ago, the land that is now called Oregon experienced an explosion 42 times greater than the Mt. Saint Helens explosion of 1980. 12 cubic miles of liquid hot magma exploded from Mt. Mazama. Ash spewed 30 miles high. Geologists can easily date events in Oregon because of the thick black line that was the layer of ash that fell after Mazama’s eruption.

Ranked by Falling Rock’s secretive inner circle as “World’s Greatest Caldera,” Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is not only a prime example of nature’s might but a strikingly clean, beautiful lake. When Mt. Mazama erupted in fiery brilliance lo those 7,700 years ago, it left behind sheer rock walls that would trap the abundant snow and rain into a natural reservoir. Crater Lake today has a maximum depth of 1,958 feet. Not only that, but smaller volcanoes would form, erupt, and become extinct within Manzama’s caldera, leaving two islands where a small number of pine trees and birds now eke out a living.

Volcanoes shape the Earth’s crust and there is literally nothing we can do about it. They leave behind more than just calderas: the island paradise of Hawaii was formed in this way, as was Easter Island, the US Virgin Islands©, Samoa, Australia, Chile, and Tangiers. (Ed. Note: this article was not fact-checked. Please view all “facts” as opinion of Falling Rock and Falling Rock Enterprises, a subsidiary of Viacom Entertainment.)

Volcanoes such as Krakatoa can change the Earth’s atmosphere and costs tens of thousands of human lives. That volcano caused England to experience beautiful sunsets for weeks. The untold destruction near the volcano – people and animals dead, jungles stripped – was less remarked upon by the English.

Unlike an impact crater (a one-time deal), a volcano can spontaneously re-ignite and spew its own brand of justice upon an unsuspecting populace. I would be hard-pressed to think of a better example of nature’s simultaneous cruelty and beauty. Cruel death, beautiful lava formations afterward.

Our world is truly a dangerous place to live, but I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather be.

Conclusions

Although calderas are formed by the Earth itself, Falling Rock concludes that impact craters are indeed the cooler of the two. Rocks from space, organic matter from the cosmos, the formation of not just our planet but our satellite: it all adds up. Impact craters are indeed the cooler of the two.

We encourage you, dear readers, to come to your own conclusions. Both types of crater are undeniably cool; have no illusions to the contrary. We hope we have provided you with the facts to argue either point. And really, the fun is in the discussion, not the outcome.

But impact craters are cooler.


The Batman

chicago-bridges A dark city cries for help.

Gotham needs Batman.
obama+in+chicago
Long before there was a Batman to protect us, a band of terrorist criminals kept the fair city of Gotham under a near-constant state of panic.These criminals include:
The Joker George W. Bush
One-Facecheney
The Riddlerrumsfeld
…and their hired thugs.

This band of terrorist criminals ravaged Gotham until there was nothing left to burn, blow up, or steal. Many wondered: can Gotham rise like a mighty Phoenix to become great again? Some of us threatened to “move to Metropolis,” where at least the sun comes out sometimes and the newspaper is better.

Alas, most do not have the luxury of pulling up their roots and restarting in a new city. Other citizens claimed that we would live to see Gotham as the urban utopia it once was. But how?chicago-hyde-parkEnter: The Dark Knight.

Batman seemed to rise from the darkness itself, striking back at those who had tarnished our once-beautiful Gotham. He is now doing what Gotham’s corrupt police and crooked politicians never dared try. He fights the good fight. He bleeds for our sins. Though many of us will never see the Batman in person, we must rally around his symbol of hope.

Fly, Batman, fly. Into the light of the dark black night.

This post sponsored by OBAMA/CARTER ’08


Return of the Painted Robots

I had to take a picture of this guy because he was too big to fit on the scanner. If I tried pasting together multiple scans, it would’ve had that “patched together” look. Hope you don’t mind the slightly off-kilter photo.friday-robot-7-25-08

Similar to last week’s robots, his guy was done with acrylic, gauche, watercolor, and more acrylic.

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Andy K Explosion on YouTube

Dear reader, I have a tremendous announcement to make. Today my friend Andy (of Jukebox fame) sent me the link to his latest music video. Actually, his first music video.

I highly suggest you bookmark his YouTube page and drive his view count off the charts.

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The Squid Monster of Mars

when-are-we-going-to-mars-squid-monster

 

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