Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Slog of Writing

For every blog post that I publish, there are another half-dozen or so that I write out by hand on paper to a point of 80%-95% completion. At which point I often find that what is down on the paper is adequate for the point I wanted to express and the feeling of satisfaction at it being written down is enough. I tell myself that eventually I'll get around to typing them up for the blog, but really they just live in my notebook for a few months until the next time I get the urge to clean them up and then they all end up being recycled with the other odds and ends of paper this house generates.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Leonard Maltin's Favorite Movies

A couple Christmases ago, I got a copy of Leonard Maltin's (last) Movie Guide. After flipping through it a bit and browsing, I became a bit annoyed because he didn't seem very consistent in his evaluations. So I thought I'd go through and look at all of the films that he gave four stars (his highest rating) to see if there was any sort of pattern. (There wasn't.) His list clearly has some problems. Nothing from Pixar? Only one Ozu film? No Twilight Samurai? None of Branagh's Shakespeare? Too many concert movies. A disproportionate number of Italian films.

Anyway, it was interesting enough that I'm going to put the list up below the break. It's (obviously) in alphabetical order. The movies that have years after them are titles with multiple entries in the Movie Guide. The films I've seen are in bold, the ones I have on my list to see are in italics.

After working through the list again, I found the pattern. Left-wing films. They dominate this list; lots of propaganda.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Problem With Broodhollow

I must begin by saying that I am a big fan of Kris Straub and the work he's done over the years. I was (am!) a fan of Checkerboard Nightmare. From some of his writings, Straub gives the impression that he finds his earlier work lacking in some regards. It makes sense; we all look back on the things done and said in our youth and find some of them that we would do or say differently in retrospect. It's only to be expected. Regardless of how CN might be improved, however, it was a clever, creative strip.

Time Friends was an interesting idea that played with a form of crowdsourcing the writing of the comic. I can't find anywhere online that it's been archived, but there are odd strips available here and there around the web.

F Chords was an interesting departure from his surreal comics that preceded it by remaining almost exclusively in the realm of the mundane world. It was short-lived and I don't know that it really resonated with Straub (hah!), but I wouldn't be sorry to see him pick that thread up again in the future.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I've added a page at the top that will list the movies I watch this year. I might do the same for books if it looks like I'll read a number of them about which I won't be embarrassed.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Statistical Error

I got annoyed by a tweet this morning. Here it is.

You can see I replied a couple times, but he only engaged once. Which is fine. If I was in his shoes, I wouldn't have answered me at all, so it was good of him to bother.

The chart is basically a tease for his article on the Hall of Fame and most of it is considering which active players might get in. It's worth reading.

But that chart... is very misleading.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Authoritative Ordering of Pixar Films

Pixar films, ranked correctly, from best to worst. Full list and some highlights of the reasoning below the jump.

The Great

The Incredibles
Toy Story 3
Toy Story 2

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Interesting Thing

Penny Arcade is doing a Kickstarter and I have learned an interesting thing from it. They have been doing a thing for a number of years now called Pinny Arcade. Basically, they sell you some overpriced pins with stuff on them related to games or their comic and then you can trade them with folks. There are special and somewhat limited pins that are only sold for a time or pins that are available only at certain events and whatnot. It's a giant and successful money grab. Nothing wrong with that, so far as it goes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

L: Longest Books

She whom I follow in posting these alphabet-related topics had some difficulty in determining the lengths of various books and was forced to surmise in some instances. Allow me to suggest the very helpful LibraryThing site. Also useful for many other bookish things.

So, adding page counts to my catalogue listings and sorting on that field... Next we ignore reference books (sorry, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide) and books I haven't read (don't hold your breath, Les Miserables), and we arrive at Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace at 1,472 pages. There are actually more books that I've read over the 1,000 page mark than I realized.

K: Kinds of Books I Can't Abide

Romance novels. Modern romance novels. You know the type. There's always a bare-chested man with superhero dimensions and long, flowing hair with a woman who through artifice or accident has managed to demonstrate a remarkable amount of cleavage and expose at least one shapely leg from toe to 3/4 of the way up her thigh. She will either be clinging to him as to a life ring in the stormy Atlantic while they gaze intensely into each other's eyes or busily swooning whilst he effortlessly supports her with one arm and stares broodingly into the middle distance.

Also, no modern crime whether true or fictional. I don't need to read vicariously sadistic accounts of gruesome murders.

There are lots of other books I won't read or am not interested in reading, but no other genres spring to mind.

Original here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ghostly Watersports

A ghostly image on the ceiling of my bus this morning. He was either kayaking or (I think) surfing. I think it was from an experiment with WiFi on the bus.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

J: Just Finished

I'm going to take this prompt two ways. (Didn't think I'd finish this, did ya?) Well, I am. One can understand "just" to indicate a small interval of time between conclusion and this writing. But! One can also think of it as indicating that finishing at all was a near run thing and only barely accomplished.

So, to take the latter first, I only just finished Anna Karenina. Don't misunderstand, the book is a triumph. The plot, characters, dialogue (even in translation) were all amazing. But the tale is so relentlessly depressing it's a long, hard slog to get through it. I think I probably read a half-dozen Wodehouse books interspersed with it just so I wouldn't get so down that I'd throw myself under a train. (Too soon?)

In the other sense, I think the most recently completed book I've read is Pandora by Holly Hollander by Gene Wolfe. Yep, you read that right. This is Mr Wolfe's foray into writing a detective novel. Not that none of his other stories have mystery, but I think this is the only novel which is entirely in that genre. The references are not quite as obscure, and it is typically brilliant, as Gene Wolfe's books tend to be.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rain and Sun

On the drive back from Miami on Friday, my dad had the epiphanic realization that we would be passing through Montgomery at just about the time the Biscuits (yep, I know!) game started. And so it proved, so far as the schedule was concerned, but we ran into a rain storm (an honest-to-goodness, Deep South storm) just shy of the city and so we contented ourselves with a quick look around the park and a visit to the team store courtesy of a very kind ticket taker.

The park is only a few years old and next to the Alabama River. We didn't see it in peak conditions, with the rain and darkness falling, but it looked like a great place for baseball.

The following Monday we trekked to Birmingham to take in a Barons game. Despite temps around 100 in the shade, seats out of the sun behind home plate were still available at game time and only $14. Though it was a newer park, it was in downtown Birmingham and it had a bit more of an industrial feel about it while still retaining that small town charm. More concrete beyond the outfield wall, the city's skyline as a backdrop and construction workers on their lunch break watching from a block away and several stories up.

Though it was close the whole way and a homer in the 8th got everyone's hopes up, the Barons ultimately lost. Still and all, I think a fun time was had by all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Thursday for the first (and only) time on the trip we saw the home team win. After driving down to Miami from Tampa earlier in the day (turns out driving across the Everglades on the interstate is incredibly boring), we saw the Marlins defeat the Colorado Rockies in the evening.

The park had its points. Most of it was just your standard, domed, artificial turf stadium, but the giant, light-studded Marlin pinwheel thing in centerfield that goes into action when a Marlin hits a home run was very Miami-esque. At least, so it seemed to me. We got to see it light up twice; once for Giancarlo Stanton. Ichiro got in to pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth and hit a single. So good times all the way around. They even put in their reliever who does the funny little hop at the end of his delivery.

Don't know that I'll go back to Miami, but it wasn't a bad experience getting there for the game like New York. Eesh.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Wednesday was a jaunt over to Lakeland to see the Flying Tigers. The previous day's game there had rained out with what had apparently been a storm of near biblical proportions. As a consequence, they scheduled a double-header of seven-inning games for Wednesday.

There was still a bit of rain threatening, but the first game started nearly on time. We lucked into an all-you-can-eat concession promotion and for a mere $11 we got seats right behind home plate and all the brats, hamburgers, popcorn, pretzels, etc. that we could handle. The Flying Tigers quickly fell behind the Fort Myers Miracle, and then the rain started about the 4th inning and really started coming down after the sixth. After waiting about 30 minutes, we figured it wasn't going to stop and figured we'd gotten our money's worth and left.

Picked up a nice hat with an element I haven't seen anywhere else on a baseball team's hat except those worn by the Seattle Pilots as were. Also, I think this was the largest field of any we visited, and that includes the MLB parks. Once again, the minor league experience was great. Met an usher who used to live near my neck of the woods and gave us a foul ball he got a hold of. With the rain and the mid-week game and it being only Advanced A minors, the crowd was sparse and if I'd been willing to run a bit, I could probably have ended up with three foul balls.

May update with pictures later.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays

Went Tuesday to see what are now merely the Rays. Apparently the "devil" portion off the name was objectionable? Just being the Rays, however, is a far less fearsome mascot particularly as they now seem to be trying to shift the association to a ray of light instead of the fish.

Regardless, they had the good sense to still have caps with the old logo, so I of course got one off those. The game itself was a bit disappointing since the Rays were dismantled (foreshadowing pun!) by the Angels. They committed 3 errors and gave up 15 hits on their way to losing 8-2.

On the bright side, we did see Pujols hit the home run that tied him with Mickey Mantle. 536 and Mike Schmidt at 548 it's next on the list.

Third loss in a row for the home team. Would this change the next day in Lakeland?