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discarded couches of portland

Found this Friday afternoon special on SE Gladstone and 37th.
Discarded couch 5-31-13

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Blog friday robot

Friday Robots

Friday Robots are on video this week. I had the good fortune of spending some time in the warehouse and discovered these little guys.

And for you old-fashioned folks, here they are in still photography:
Friday Robot 5-31-13 1
Friday Robot 5-31-13 2

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discarded couches of portland

Another discarded couch on the campus of this liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest.

Discarded couch 5-30-13

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Blog comic con

VanCAF 2013

vancaf vancouver1
vancaf sign
vancaf roundhouse
vancaf roundhouse2
vancaf roundhouse sign
vancaf roundhouse3
vancaf steam clock

vancaf vancouver2

vancaf vancouver3

vancaf public library

vancaf public library2

vancaf vanouver4

vancaf-wood-ball

VanCAF was a wonderful experience. Vancouver is truly a city of the future. Bike paths, easy access to the most startling mountains this blogger has seen outside the Front Range, community art centers that host comic festivals, kind attractive people. The Festival itself was small yet yielded great interest, in no small part due to the free admission and location along a busy pedestrian thoroughfare.

Among the exhibitors I found extraordinary talent. A small sample of the work is presented below:

VanCAF trades
Brett Williams – Laura Knows Best
Renee Nault – Witchling
Trevor Waurechen – mini-comics, including his 24-hour comic Open Bar
Laurenn Stipes – mini-comic
Bettina McEntyre – Noid
Laura Bifano – postcards of paintings of geometric animals
And of course, my gracious tablemate Matt Ocasio, without whose generosity I wouldn’t have been there at all.

You were a wonderful hostess, Vancouver. I hope to visit again someday.
vancaf vancouver5

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Blog

discarded couches of portland

This couch was found among the piles of end-of-year rubbish at an accredited liberal arts college. It is perhaps the most justifiably discarded couch this blogger has come across. How many 18-22 year-olds have crashed on the fold-out? How many awkward embraces has this couch hosted? The couch isn’t talking. Discarded couches tell no tales.
discarded couch 5-29

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Blog friday robot

friday robots

On my way to the Vancouver Comic Arts Fest, here are some Alpine robots for the penultimate Friday of May. Happy Memorial Day, Americans!
friday robots 5-24-13

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Blog reviews

Star Trek Into Suckness

Star Trek was not meant to be a movie franchise. It worked best in hourlong episodes, where the biggest action setpiece could be a tense exchange or a puzzle being solved. Whether it was Kirk and Spock or Picard and the gang, Star Trek was about solving problems thoughtfully and reasonably. It was about looking at a moral or ethical issue from all points of view and finding a compromise. The drama that surrounded those debates made for compelling TV – some of the best TV ever made, in this blogger’s opinion.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is still the most successful translation of Trek onto the big screen. (I’m talking creatively. I’m sure the new JJ Abrams movies have made much more money.) It deals with aging (Kirk’s birthday reminds him of his mortality), friendship (Kirk, Spock and McCoy were arguably never better together than they were in this film), and courage (Spock sacrificing himself for the crew). It does have action: Kirk’s battle with Khan is legendary, and Khan knows exactly how to make Kirk suffer. Tense drama, action, and one of the most iconic scenes in all of Trek. Wrath of Khan is the Trek high-water mark.

Star Trek Into Darkness fails on all levels. JJ Abrams has taken a thinking-person’s science fiction story and wrenched it into the realm of Just Another Action Movie Franchise. There is next to no time devoted to the characters; we’re rushed from one action scene to another with barely a breath in between. Instead of Kirk and Spock discussing the ramifications of their decisions, they are forced again and again to take the easy way out: shoot first, ask questions never. It is Bizarro Star Trek, where guns (ahem, phasers) are the heroes.

When one of the three writers who toiled at the screenplay apologized for a scene in which a woman appears briefly in her undies, he didn’t go far enough. That scene didn’t make Into Darkness terrible. The entire concept and execution of the movie did.

Star Trek in the 1960’s was a very liberal show. It presented a vision of the future in which all races and nationalities worked together on an intergalactic science expedition. That’s right: the whole show was about scientists in space.

When they did run into trouble, it was usually a matter of simply not understanding an alien’s point of view. When a rock monster keeps devouring people in a mining colony, Spock is able to communicate with it. He learns that the “monster” is merely trying to live its life by eating the nutritious rocks that make up the planet. The mining colony has unknowingly encroached on the alien’s habitat. A peaceful resolution is achieved.

Now, aliens are either warlike (we briefly meet a Klingon before an inter-species firefight breaks out) or used for humor. Kirk shares his bed with two women who are endowed with long beautiful tails. Spock’s ears are constantly being pointed out as pointy, and therefore funny. Differences are funny or scary. Not good.

Beyond taking a show renowned for its progressive politics and turning it George W Bush conservative, the makers of Into Darkness have done the unforgivable: taken the best bad guy in the Trek universe and turned him into just another terrorist.

In Wrath of Khan, it was Kirk’s decision to abandon the genetically-engineered superpeople on an uninhabited wasteland planet. When Khan is mistakenly picked back up, he has plenty of reason to go after Kirk. Khan’s wrath nearly causes the destruction of everything Kirk holds dear, from his newly-discovered son to his best friend to his entire ship and crew.

Ricardo Montalban is perfect for the role. A big man, a smart man, a man who has long planned his revenge and clearly savors putting his maniacal plan into motion. Khan is superior to Kirk in every way. One look at Montalban and you see that, instantly.

Ricardo Montalban

Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor, and Khan is a legendary character. Hiring Cumberbatch to play Khan was a waste of both actor and character. You’re hiring a skinny pale Englishman to play a genetically-engineered superman? Why? Do you want the audience to be amazed at how you’ve cleverly flipped our expectations? Or do you want the audience trying to figure out why genetically engineered supermen look like Mr. Darcy after a long bout with pneumonia?

benedict cumberbatch
I mean, come on. If you’re going to pick a Brit, at least pick Alan Rickman.

By far, the biggest crime Into Darkness commits is recycling the end of Wrath of Khan but keeping none of its emotional weight. Kirk makes the sacrifice this time, but it really isn’t a sacrifice at all because he is alive again within 15 minutes. Thanks, JJ Abrams and Team of Three Writers. You’ve pillaged the best of Star Trek and given us the 30-year-old leftovers.

Oh yeah, and somehow Abrams convinced Leonard Nimoy to make a cameo, just so the audience could hear Old Spock tell Young Spock “Khan is bad.” This movie is revelatory in its perversions.

Now Abrams will head off to make his Star Wars movie, full of lens flare and big explosions and evil aliens. I just hope someone who actually cares about what Star Trek means takes the reigns from now on. That may be a longshot. But if Star Trek has taught me anything, it has been to remain hopeful and to keep an open mind.

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Blog comic con Uncategorized

VanCAF

VanCAF header

In one week I will be exhibiting at my very first international comics festival in Vancouver, British Columbia! Next Saturday and Sunday you can meet me at Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. Matt Ocasio, celebrated author, will be my tablemate for the show. Another first! We’ve never shared a table before. Find us both at table G5 at Roundhouse Mews. We will be two of the Americans self-consciously adding “u” to the words color, favor, and honor in our books.

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Blog friday robot

friday robots

friday robots 5-17-13Because I will always be an X-Files fan.

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Blog

discarded couches of portland

Discarded couch on truck

This small couch hasn’t been discarded…yet.