Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Meeting a Fellow Escapee

Experiment with Stick Figure Comics #2:

That was an almost verbatim conversation I had with a co-worker who moved down here from Fresno. Clearly I'm not the only person who disliked living in the Valley.

That said, my feelings about the Valley are slightly more complex than I hate it and am glad I moved away. There's people who live there I miss, I miss the foggy winters, and some of my best memories were made while in the Valley. I suppose those halcyon times will always make part of me wish I still lived there, even though I know the reasons I don't want to live there are far better than any reasons to move back.

Memory can be funny like that.


Blogger Forrest said...

it would mess up your 1-column layout a bit, but consider making your previews just a little bigger? It'd be nice to be able to read them directly inline.

7/31/2007 3:28 PM  

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

An Attempt at Drawing

Occasionally, there are little events which happen in my life that I feel like sharing with other people. Problem is, I'm a terrible writer. My attempts at writing stories of any kind rarely end up entertaining or even complete. For example, my NaNoWriMo attempt last year devolved into the characters giving a series of speeches, with the plot simply existing as filler in between the speeches. I've told several people that my stories read like bad imitations of Ayn Rand. Depending on your opinion of her writing, that either makes me a bad writer or a poor imitation of a bad writer (and therefore a terrible writer).

I have friends who can paint with words. These people can make something as benign as a movie review into a work of art; each word is placed with precision and flows into the next like a painter's brush strokes. I don't know how they do it; their writing is so far above and beyond my abilities that it makes my head hurt.

Anyways, something amusing happened to me at work the other day which I found amusing. I wanted to share it, but it's a story and I'd therefore tell it poorly. I've decided to write a little comic which tells the story instead. I'm a horrible artist as well, but I don't care. I just wanted to see if writing a story as a comic makes it easier for me to tell a story. I do like that the medium's requisite terseness forces me to get to the point of the story. This probably won't be a regular occurrence; I feel slightly guilty subjecting anyone who reads to too much of my stick figure art. But I may try this again sometime.


Blogger Jerry said...

Well, xkcd seems popular enough, and it's nothing but stick figures, with the occasional graph.

7/15/2007 5:00 AM  
Blogger Arthaey said...

As for writing stories: If you find you don't have enough experience with "literary" style to do it well (though this is something that can be practiced, if you care about it), another good choice is to write as though you were orally recounting the story to a friend. Most people (you included!) are quite good at telling their friends about whatever happened in their life.

Try writing down some story you've retold several times to friends -- silly family stories work for me; YMMV -- so you already sorta have the wording and rhythm of the story down. See if that comes out more authentically (and entertaining).

In any case, it's nice to see your blog update with what's going on in your life. (Which reminds me, my own blog is being horridly neglected at the moment...)

7/15/2007 5:23 PM  

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Friday, July 06, 2007

John Safran vs. God

If you haven't checked out John Safran vs. God (and as it was only broadcast in Australia, I'm sure you haven't), I highly encourage you to do so. As the link explains (as if you clicked on it), the show follows Australian filmmaker John Safran as he explores/experiences various religions and their ceremonies. Amongst other things, he spends time in a Zen Buddhist temple, visits several Hindu gurus in an attempt to discover the meaning of life, participates in a Haitian Voodoo goat sacrifice, and is exorcised by a Protestant minister.

My favorite bits from the series:

  • Safran's rant against Atheists: There are many people who are smart enough to understand how the Big Bang happened, but you're not one of them... If I came to your door, you'd be unable to come up with an answer for why the Big Bang is any more rational than the story in Genesis... You're too stupid to be an Atheist.
  • Dresses up as a Mormon missionary, going door to door in Salt Lake City attempting to convert people to atheism. He is not well-received.
  • Confesses to a Catholic priest that he stole the church's TV remote batteries and masturbated in the church's bed during a previous stay.
  • Has a fatwa placed on a colleague after he bumped Safran from his television show.
  • Attempts to join the Ku Klux Klan as an anti-Semitic Jew and is refused membership.
  • With the aid of an Australian mathematician using text analysis methods described in The Bible Code, discovers not only that the September 11 attacks are predicted in Vanilla Ice's lyrics, but also that the 9/11 Commission Report predicted the fall of Vanilla Ice's career.
  • A critic of the Mormon religion says, almost verbatim, Mormons wear special underpants that they don't like to talk about... Ask any Mormon, let me see your underpants and they won't show them to you.. I was waiting for Safran to make the obvious request to see this guy's non-Mormon underpants, but alas.

YouTube has a bunch of clips of the show, and a decent-quality copy of the series is available on The Pirate Bay. Sadly the series DVD is only available in Australia or I would order it.


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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Yukon, Ho!

Glacier off Side

This past week I went on an Alaskan cruise with my family. We flew up to Vancouver, sailed up to Juneau, sailed further up to Skagway, back down to Ketchikan, then ended up back in Vancouver. Not strictly the Yukon, but I spent a couple hours there. It was surprisingly warm during the trip; I'd packed a pretty heavy coat thinking it might be cold enough to use it only to discover I was able to get away with wearing just a T-shirt and the occasional light jacket the whole trip.

When it wasn't cloudy/rainy (it was overcast and rainy in Juneau), it was quite beautiful up there. I saw some of the bluest skies I've ever seen, and there were trees everywhere. As someone whose spent the vast majority of his life in what amounts to desert, this is always a surprising and welcome thing to see. What I consider the best of the 1200 or so pictures I took are on my Flickr page.

As expected, the TSA experience was annoying. As someone who has no plans to blow up a plane, I don't appreciate being treated like someone who does. Nor does it make much sense that we're supposed to throw large containers of liquids, which we're told are potentially explosives, into an even larger trash container to be treated the same as a half-eaten sandwich. Seems like items which could be explosive should be treated like explosives, which implies HAZMAT teams and/or bomb squads.

Though to their credit, the TSA was much better than the Canadian equivalent. In Canada, I got patted down, had to turn on my laptop, it was swabbed for explosives, my camera was thrown around a bit, I don't remember how many times they waved the wand around me, etc... I got to keep my shoes on, so that was a slight advantage over the TSA. I'd hoped our neighbors to the North were a bit saner with regards to airport security, but alas.

Back to work tomorrow! Now I get to do all the work I couldn't do last week!


Blogger Luke said...

Looks beautiful. I heard the Alaskan cruise is pretty much the best you can go on in terms of what you get to sightsee.

Nice pics too. My favorite would be the river running through the valley towards the mountains.

7/02/2007 8:14 AM  

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