December Sun – A Web Comic

April 30, 2009

December Sun #2 – Page 17B

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April 29, 2009

Star Trek V: Terrible film but brilliant Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack

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star trek v - terrible film but great music

Star Trek V is one of the single-most awful films ever made, and that’s speaking as someone who watched far too many films growing up, both good and bad. Everything about Star Trek V film, from the ridiculous dialog, bad acting, terrible special effects, Shatner-centric storyline, etc, just combine to make one of the worst films ever.

HOWEVER!  Jerry Goldsmith wrote what has to be one of his finest film scores ever to this film, so regardless of how bad the film is, the SOLE MERIT of this film is a remarkable soundtrack, that surpasses what Goldsmith wrote for the Star Trek:Motion Picture, as well as for the music he wrote for the subsequent Star Trek:Next Gen films.  

As an example: Shatner climbing a mountainside at the film’s beginning is one of the single most nonsensical things imaginable, but as this monumentally silly scene unfolds, Jerry Goldsmith has written gorgeous, flowing thematic material for the backdrop of Yosemite National Park at which this ludicrous scene is set.  This trend continues throughout the film: scenes of pure silly nonsense with brilliant musical background.

Goldsmith also revisits the Klingon material from the Motion Picture, but with a lot more energy (including this bizarre horn-thing throughout the Klingon theme… sortof like a dying saxophone… but it works great!) The rest of the music, including the Sybok/Silly-mind-meld music is rich and captivating.  Oh, such good music for so awful a film.  The heavy inclusion of horns throughout tracks like “A Busy Man” reminds me vaguely of Goldsmith’s score for the Rambo films (another film series of silliness, but with great music to go with it.)

jerry goldsmiths score to star trek v - great music, terrible film

Anyhow, I just found that LastFm currently has the entire Star Trek V Jerry Goldsmith album available for listening to, which is just great to hear these full tracks again (I owned this on CASSETTE once, and the tape has since been lost or demagnitized in the garage somewhere.)

Star Trek V: terrible film, but fantastic music by Jerry Goldsmith.

December Sun #2 – Page 17A

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I love unrealistic thought dialog in comic books, even when it’s completely and totally implausible.  In the midst of a furious battle scene, would a character really think clear, lucid thoughts in complete sentences?  Probably not.  But it makes for much more interesting reading.  I think it was from years of reading Chris Claremont’s original run on Uncanny X-men that I really got hooked on this style of narrative.  A comic is just so much more rich and rewarding when it’s jam-packed with dialog, even if it is Wolverine doing panel after panel of thoughts about “being a loner” and “the best there is at what I do” even when he’s in the middle of a battle with a super villain.  

There are too many comics these days where it’s all just visuals in the action scenes, and while this is more credible (and more cinematic-feeling in it’s style) I think this betrays the nature of the comic book format, which is really built around a balance of art and writing.  Spiderman fighting Juggernaut for 10 pages with minimal dialog (other than witty remarks here and there between sound effects) just doesn’t cut it for me.  I like to get into the head and thoughts of the character, even if it is somewhat unrealistic to follow clearly-articulated thought patterns of a character.  But to me, that’s what a comic book is supposed to be about.

April 28, 2009

Geocities site cleanup #1: spider

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spider in a treeSo I’m downloading files, images, html, and basically a ton of garbage I had uploaded to my geocities site over the last 10 or so years, and came across these two pictures.  This was a spider suspended from a tree in front of our house.  I honestly have no idea what type of spider this is, but it looked like a crab-like alien.  Any ideas?crablike spider in a tree

First Launchcast radio, then Briefcase, then Geocities? What will you take away next, Yahoo? The free email?

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Yahoo!’s removal of Launchcast a few months ago was unfortunate (but this is fine, since I’m hooked on lastfm now), and then they took away Briefcase (which I can live without, but it’s still not cool) and now, apparently, they are getting rid of the geocities freebie sites?  This is a shame, and is it really that big of a deal for Yahoo! to offer folks cheap, freebie websites littered with their ads?  I mean, my old geocities site had a monstrous 15 meg!  Was it really hurting Yahoo! to offer these free sites?Alaska image totally unrelated to this post

It’s just a shame, because I was fond of that old geocities site.  It was pretty easy to work with, and I had a bunch of old pages over there, and now I need to try and salvage what I can before it’s all taken away.  Geocities was a fun way to get started with building web pages.  In fact, after I had toyed around with AOL and free website design, Geocities was the next step, and I learned a lot about HTML through this, although this system wasn’t without it’s limitations.  Yahoo! did offer some decent controls and file management, and I liked building pages with their file editor.  

Although, to be honest, I think its sortof at the point where you mention a “geocities” site and its sortof considered cliche… or just super cheap.  Your site is a geocities one and you’re basically telling the world “I just don’t care”.  But that sortof marketing has it’s place.

As it stands now, my old geocities site is just a redirect to this site, so the fact that it’s leaving isn’t that big of a deal for me.  But it was nice to learn with, and since I did spend a good chunk of time in the past working with Geocities, it’s unfortunate to hear that it’s going away.

December Sun #2 – Page 16C

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April 27, 2009

Swine flu and vaccines

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I’ve been following the news about the swine flu (especially relevant to follow as I live in a state just north of Mexico) and while I see the potential for pandemic (from what I’ve read, historically, we’re overdue for a pandemic) yet the paranoid side of me can’t help but wonder how much of this flu disease is hyped up by the mainstream media and it’s advertisers in order to get more people on the (unrelated) flu vaccine?  Reminds me how I was at a doctor’s office recently, and this was one of those places where the walls were plastered with posters for pharma adds, including info about the “necessity” to get the flu shot.  The question I had for the doctor was whether or not the vaccine worked for ALL strains of the flu, and the doctor told me “most of them”.  I really don’t think he knew what he was talking about, and I can’t help but wonder if he got a commission from some company for the number of flu shots he sold.  Ok paranoid Rob, go away now.

BBC news had a news story about the swine flu, including a map of the spread of the disease globally, and what’s strangely curious is that I recently played a flash game by Crazy Monkey games called ‘Pandemic 2‘, that has a very similar map layout to the following.  Gaming imitating life or something?

December Sun #2 – Page 16B

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April 24, 2009

December Sun #2 – Page 16A

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Bull lectures John as the battle wages on.  Fighting sequences are fun, but what good would they be without pretentious dialog?

April 23, 2009

The FM-1960/Wil Clayton exit signage is awful, pharmaceutical propaganda, travel, and other thoughts…

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I took my wife to her Doctor’s appointment yesterday, and the afternoon just seemed chock full of material to write about, so here goes.  She’s dealing with a herniated disc in her neck (around the C5/C6) area, and although she’s been in to see some chiropractors for adjustments and acupuncture, and while I do see alternative medicine as an OFTEN SUPERIOR form of medical care, she just isn’t seeing much relief currently, so we’ve been exploring the medical road.  Granted, I’m NOT a big fan of western medicine, as the avenue tends to traditionally be one of seeing a “doctor” for a 5-minute consultation then get kicked out the door with a prescription to treat the “symptoms”, not the problem (too many doctors, it seems, go to 6 years of medical school just to become glorified pharmaceutical-referral experts.)

Anyhow, I took her to the office which was just off of Will Clayton and FM-1960, in what was an unbelievably muddled and confusing stretch of Texas highway.  Nowhere along the southbound I-59 feeder do you ever see anything about Will Clayton (no signs, nothing), but apparently, the motorist is supposed to know that this stretch of road magically extends as part of the Bush International airport road.  After zipping past this road twice, we finally found it with some help from the person on the phone.  Why would there be no signs?  Actually, now that I think about it, I might have seen what could have been a sign for Will Clayton, but I was on an elevated stretch of a feeder, and the Will Clayton sign was almost out of sight on a different, unrelated part of the highway system, so I can’t confirm.

Anyhow, we finally arrived, and the doctor’s office was like any other, in that the waiting room was stocked with a variety of old and boring magazines to make the wait more dull; but regardless, I took a break from reading my copy of Java Game Design book I’ve been rereading to look through some of the awful literature around me:

First was WebMD Magazine, which I’m convinced is some of the single worst pharmaceutical propaganda that I’ve ever seen.  I mean, a magazine with a couple pharma ads: no big deal, and pharma has it’s place.  But this faux magazine was little more than page after page of ads for prescription drug.  The layout was little more that this: 1 page of pithy, pseudo-medical information, followed by a full-page drug ad, followed by 1 or two pages of prescribing information about said drug… then repeat.  I’ve already dismissed WebMD.com as being totally bunk and irrelevant (based on what I’ve seen on their site.  Examples include silly and vague reports about how artificial sweeteners pose minimal health risk, and their minimalist and sophomoric advice about treating hives (no mention at all about fasting and radical diet change, which CURED my hives). So it turns out that their print magazine is just as worthless as their online version.

Anyhow, after flipping through the latest Houston Chronicle, which was just as dull and inane, I leafed through an issue of ‘Travel + Leisure‘, which I can only assume is a publication for insanely wealthy folks looking for private beach-front candle-lit dining, or for two-income couples, “untroubled” by children, looking for European get-aways.  In fact, to me it seemed as if there was a stark absence of anything to do with children in this publication, but instead this was aimed exclusively at those with little or no obligation to family.  Maybe that works for some, but it doesn’t work for me.  Vacations need to be in an immediate vicinity, and preferably free, and MUST include my children!  (Disney World is just a pipe dream)

In fact, the more I think about it, while there was a stark absence of anything having to do with kids of with affordable vacations with the kids, the only reference to a child was to something about a statue of a crabby (and somewhat creep) boy in Oslo somewhere.  So the sum total of anything having to do with children is… a statue depicting everything you need to know about kids: they’re angry and they pout and they’re too much trouble!  So don’t bother with kids, readers, and just take your luxurious vacations and enjoy yourself.  But what’s odd is, having just read America Alone by Mark Steyn, I can’t help but think about what he was talking about regarding the rapidly dropping demographics across Europe, and how so few people are having children over there, that the native population is basically dying off.  So how depressing to travel to somewhere like, say, France or Italy, and know that because the lifestyle is so easy and the children are so few, that the native population is basically disappearing.  In fact, some of the images around Venice and what not just looked empty and unalive.  I’ve no interest in ever going there.

Anyhow, the drive home was easier at least, but if you need Will Clayton, weary travel, be warned.  There be no signage, argh!

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