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Friday Robots: Inspirational Poster Edition

For those of you who thought my last post was too morbid, here are some happy forest robots to cheer you up.friday-robots-2-27-9

And for those of you who think happy forest robots are too “Self-Help-y,” here is a drawing of a man about to be eaten by dinosaurs.little-man-eaten-by-dinosaurs

We at Falling Rock aim to please. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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Falling Rock

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autobiography Blog

famous last words

the windWhen Warren Zevon began work on The Wind, he knew it would be his last album. Zevon was diagnosed with cancer early; unfortunately, nothing could be done. Fortunately, he used his remaining time on earth to give us a great album. Knowing it was his last chance to say something made each line more poignant.

Most of us don’t have advance notice of impending death. We know it will happen someday, but the day, month, even year are uncertain at best. Most of us don’t get the chance to craft our last words. Or do we?

The sad fact is, every artist will have a parting shot. As I have said before, I hope Bob Dylan outlives us all, but there will come a day when he’s booked his last recording session. What will come of that music? Will it be especially meaningful? Will it be a continuation of whatever aspect he was exploring up to that point? Or will it be a sharp departure?

Buddy Holly didn’t have a head’s up from the Reaper. 50 years ago the world was left with what he hadn’t yet finished. The Apartment Tapes stand as the only glimpse we’ll ever get into Holly’s future recording plans. They are excellent, but they are finite.

George Herriman, cartoonist extraordinaire, died with a week’s worth of Krazy Kat dailies sitting at his desk. Some are nearly complete, some merely pencil sketches. I wonder if he was having a good week up until he died. If given the choice, would he have wanted to finish off that batch? Or would he have preferred to let another week stand in as his last words to the public?

This is all very morbid. I’m sorry. Allow me one final thought.

According to one website, my death will occur in exactly 47 years, 10 months, 23 days. (I was surprised at how soon I’m expected to go. Maybe I should move away from this nuclear waste storage facility.) I know the exact number of days because it’s on my Google homepage (right above the weather and NASA’s Image of the Day).

When I get Falling Rock syndicated, I’m going to begin work on the final week’s worth right away. That way I can tinker with it for a long time. Crafting my final message will be difficult, epecially if I’m in my 20’s when I start. Hopefully by the time I’m 77 I’ll have it all worked out.

Of course I’ll have to make changes as technology evolves. I expect to incorporate a few hover cars and a Mars colony in my final comics. Stay tooned! Who knows what wacky hijinks those desert critters will get up to in the future.

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autobiography Blog

why i don’t like glasses

My eyes have been shot since the fourth grade. That, and the braces I had to wear for five years, and my allergies, make me amazed I wasn’t devoured by wolves before I reached 15.

I wear contacts now, but not for cosmetic reasons. I’ve always disliked wearing glasses. They continually slip down my face. They are uncomfortable. You can never see anything out of your peripheral vision. You can’t wear sunglasses. But the real reason for my dislike of glasses is this:

I’ve always had the completely rational fear that one day, when I’m peeing at a ballpark or an airport, my glasses will slip off my face and into the urinal. I’ll squint, barely able to make out my glasses half-submerged in liquid, resting beside the urinal cake.

Then, I will have to make a choice.

It’s a classic lose/lose situation. Retrieve the glasses, try your best to wash them off, but live the rest of your life knowing you put a urine-soaked object on your face every day. Not just your urine, either. Stranger’s urine. On the other hand, you can leave a pair of expensive glasses in the toilet. You won’t be able to see for days afterward. You might not even make it home; you’ll crash the car on the way.

Fortunately I’ve never been faced with this situation. I pray to god I never will. And for this very reason I put my contacts on every morning, relieved that they will never fall into some cesspool, abandoning and blinding me.

Thank you, contact lenses.

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Falling Rock

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autobiography Blog

penguins, in honor of a new zealand wedding

The gentlemen of the sea, penguins are all dressed up with places to go. As I blogged previously, Morgan Freeman has a fascination with penguins. Others who feel the penguin love include Lyle Lovett, some French filmmakers, and Gary Larson.

Penguins were never mistaken by sailors to be mermaids (that was the manatee). Penguins did not send a delegation to meet Ernest Shackleton’s ship upon his arrival to Antarctica. Penguins do not have a seat at the UN. Penguins do not live at the North Pole.

Penguins do travel to New Zealand. There they frolic in the (relatively) warm waters, dine on local fish, and enjoy weddings on the beach.F1000018
Two good friends (of mine, and of each other) recently got married on a New Zealand beach, and in honor of this momentous occasion I dug up some pictures of the only time I had the pleasure of meeting penguins in the wild. It was a different New Zealand beach, on the south island near Dunedin.penguin3

A homemade zoom lens: put the camera up to binoculors, blindly aim, hope for the best.penguin2The closest I got to a real live penguin was when the group of us were leaving the beach. We took a path through the bushes and rocks. A tiny penguin popped out from behind a rock. Before I could get my camera back out, he was scurrying away.penguin1

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Blog reviews

Oscar 2009

As I mentioned before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences treats my opinion with less respect than Bush did Colin Powell. This, however, does not stop me from making my Oscar picks every year.

This year I can’t weigh in on every race. I have only seen two of the Best Picture nominees (Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). I’ve only seen three of the nominees for Best Actor and Actress. Instead of a complete list, here are a few of the nominees most deserving of their awards:

SHORT FILM, ANIMATED
Presto ran in theaters as a companion to Wall-E, though they have nothing in common but the studio that made them. Presto is beautifully animated, hilarious, and quick. It makes me wish animated shorts still ran before every movie.

ACTRESS, SUPPORTING
Penelope Cruz should be the biggest star in Hollywood. She can do drama and comedy without it seeming like a stunt for awards like these. And yes, she’s totally hot. Woody Allen has been on a roll lately, from Match Point to Cassandra’s Dream to Vicky Christina Barcelona. I’m an unabashed Woody Allen fan, so I’m going to watch whatever he does, but lately he’s been making some really interesting moral stories. Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona reminded me of Dianne Keaton in Allen’s 70’s movies – Allen has found a woman who isn’t lost in his text-dense scripts. She created a true character and not just a Woody Allen surrogate.

ANIMATED FEATURE
Wall-E is not only the best animated film this year, it is the best film. Eat it, Academy.

ART DIRECTION and CINEMATOGRAPHY
At first I thought Slumdog Millionaire should get it for Cinematography, but forget it. I’m going with The Dark Knight. That movie looked so darn good. It’s the closest thing we’ll ever see to Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” on the big screen.

SOUND EDITING and SOUND MIXING
Wall-E’s got these. It doesn’t even have dialogue in the first act; it is completely driven by sound.

VISUAL EFFECTS
This was tough. Should I go with the creepy old man/baby with Brad Pitt’s head, or the shiny, shiny flying metallic man, or a guy who’s face was half burned off? Such different goals with each of these movies. In the end, I chose Iron Man because of that scene in which Pepper Potts has to reach inside Tony Stark’s chest to retrieve an errant wire. That’s when effects and acting work together to create something purely enjoyable.

ORIGINAL SONG
Springsteen was robbed.

These are not predictions. I expect to be wrong on many, if not all of these picks. However, for what it’s worth, this is my two cents. Happy watching!