This Week in Geek (9-15/07/07)


I needed some white shirts and I'd once promised my friend Mark Engblom that I would purchase some of his designs from his Cafépress store, so I did just that. I've got a yes shirt ("It's so crazy, it just might work!"), a no shirt ("I say thee nay!"), and a maybe shirt ("All this power and yet I'm helpless!"). So something for each of my moods. Thanks Mark!

Postmodernism is kind of the order of the day (see below), so I got me three Douglas Coupland novels: Generation X, Shampoo Planet and Hey Nostradamus! Already started on that last one and it had me at hello (or at "I believe.."). I bought yet another copy of Slings & Arrows Season 1 for a friend's birthday gift (yes, I loved it so much, I bought it more than once), and to top off my order, a little something for myself: Jim Jarmush's Ghost Dog -The Way of the Samurai, starring Forrest Whitaker.


Had an improv show this week (with fellow blogger Bass, incidentally). We were meant to create a "postmodern meditation" in three acts using nothing but the offered sets and some beautiful lyrical videos shown before each one. Yeah, pretty challenging. It also managed to be a transformative experience. Is this geekery? Well, seeing as one of the postmodern tenets we chose to exploit was the window into a subculture (the very essence of geekery), I'd say yes. Since we're improv players, we made it about improv and used the play's structure to tell a very personal story of growth from the easy comedy stuff to the challenging things we're doing these days. The show basically explained its own reason for being. I've written a 5-page analysis of the thing, it so inspired me, but I won't bore you with it here. Major props to the entire team, both on stage and off.

But I also got up to some more classically geeky things. For example, I flipped Martin Scorsese's Casino. I'm going through a lot of his films right now, and Casino was dear to some of my friends' hearts, so I heard about it often enough, but hadn't yet watched it. I was a little non-plussed by it, to tell you the truth. Watching the extras made me appreciate it more, however. Scorsese's notion that the film, just like Las Vegas, was about excess - excessive colors, cutting, music (wall to wall), voice over... - is at once its problem and its reprieve.

Comics? I finished a second hardcover of Invincible, up through issue 24, or as I might call it, the subplot tome. Wow, there are so many. And yet, it all reads seamlessly. A page of Atom Eve ending a famine in Africa after not seeing her for a long while is just enough, and all the quirky stuff will eventually pay off, you just know it. I can't wait for volume 3 to get to my mailbox later this month.

I also read through the first trade of Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's DMZ and immediately started on the second. This stuff is GOOD. If you don't know it, it's about a second American Civil War, and Manhattan is pitched as the no man's land between the two sides. Matty Roth is a journalism intern sent and lost into the DMZ, through who's eyes the stories unfold. It's a fictional war, but it brings a lot of what's happening elsewhere right to our doorstep. I was surprised at how powerful it could be, but then I'm a huge fan of Joe Sacco's Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde. Blogosphere, you steered me well once again.

And if you're keeping track of my other projects, I got Lyndawithay up from level 56 to 58, which means I can finally go into the Outlands. Yes, it's World of Warcraft... IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!
Also made some cards for my Doctor Who CCG, 9 in all, finishing off the few cards from The Daleks I needed to do, and then relaxing with some "reject" cards mostly pulled from League of Gentlemen comedy sketches, like so:
Which reminds me, I finally framed 6 autographed pictured of Who actors I'd gotten from a friend in the UK who plays the card game and also gets a chance to visit a convention now and then. (He's an extra in The Empty Child!) He sends me these from time to time, which is awful nice of him. I already had Tom Baker (4th Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) and Louise Jameson (Leela), and now I can add Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Deborah Watling (Victoria), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler). Now I just have to find a hammer and they'll be on a wall! Thanks again Simon!

Website finds

So I've been reading Michael Fleisher's Batman encyclopedia, and it's the kind of crazy project I might have dreamed up. I do wish someone would attack the DCU like this again, though in its entirety. Instead of dividing things per hero (which is awkward because appearances in unrelated titles are not covered - for example, JLA is not covered in the Batman tome), maybe per decade/era. You could pick up the legend of long-running heroes in that decade, or retell it if things were substantially changed. The stuff I think about when I'm fighting insomnia. But wait, aren't there Wikis for this sort of thing which might satisfy my craving? All I could find with my cursory research is Supermanica, which means to cover everything about the pre-Crisis Superman thoroughly (and it does go outside the Super-titles). Can anyone suggest sites with a level of anal detail similar to Fleisher's books?


Anonymous said...

Glad you're enjoying the Batman Encyclopedia. If there's anything by someone else that approaches the level of anal detail Fleisher delivers, I'm not familiar with it.

Siskoid said...

Certainly not the Comic Treadmill's archiving, right H?

Bill D. said...

I still need to get around to Hey Nostradamus! one of these days. There was a point in time when I considered Coupland one of my two or three favorite living authors, but dislking Girlfriend in a Coma and not being able to get more than a quarter of the way into Miss Wyoming caused me to reconsider, and the only thing I've read since was J-pod. One of these days I'll double back for HN!, Eleanor Rigby, and All Families Are Psychotic, but I don't see it happening soon.

Siskoid said...

I haven't read the two you mention, at least not yet.

I think there are really two Couplands. The one who wrote microserfs, Jpod, and Generation X, and the one who wrote Families Are Psychotic and other more "standard" novels. I like the former's invention and "coolness" better, but I still like the rest at least as much as, say, Paul Auster or Julian Barnes, other authors who go back and forth across the postmodern divide structurally.

Hey Nostradamus might just be the perfect blend, though it's definitely more Families than it is Jpod.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind reading that 5 page analysis of the show. Send it over to my email if you don't mind sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I frequently (like, daily) edit Supermanica and I can tell you that it is intended to be an expanded, online version of Fleisher's third Comic Book Encyclopedia (a.k.a. The Great Superman Book), which is due for re-release in, I believe, November. We put a lot of hard work into the site and invite every one here to come on over and enjoy!-



Siskoid said...

Good work!

Is there any particular reason why Supermanica has chosen to ignore post-Crisis events?

Just wondering...

Unknown said...
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