December 1, 2002
[lmg] What LMG was linking to in December 2001 and December 2000.
December 2, 2002
[comics] Seth and the City — profile of Seth‘He’s a self-acknowledged workaholic, often passing 12 hours a day hunkered over a drafting table in his small basement studio. But much of Seth’s time is spent creating editorial illustrations for major newspapers and magazines. The commercial work earns a decent paycheque, while Palooka-Ville is his personal obsession. He labours over every detail, hand-lettering every word and aiming to create “a perfect object.”‘ [via ¡Journalista!]
[web] Way Back When — a interview with Brewster Kahle… the creator of the Wayback Machine [via blackbeltjones] …

‘The whole point of comprehensive library collections is that you can’t tell in advance what will be important. The Web is the people’s medium, it’s not elitist. Anyone can publish there, so you’ve got the good, the bad, the ugly, the profane. It’s just us, that’s the amazing thing. For instance, a lot of libraries are now used for genealogical work. What would you give for a video clip of your great-grandmother? I’d give a lot. I may not watch it very often, but I’d love some way of knowing who she was’

December 3, 2002
[xmas] ‘Tis the Season — a Christmas blog from Anna and Meg‘It’s pretty fucking difficult to do a google search on interesting facts on Christmas Trees without landing you on sites that smack you around the face with computer generated jingle bells. After five of these sites, psychosis develops. So it’s best not to bother with them at all.’ [Kinda Related: Secret Santa]
[film] The space between us — interesting Solaris preview … ‘[Solaris] is based on the Stanislaw Lem novel, which was also filmed, in an entirely different manner, by the late Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972. Tarkovsky made his version, he said, in reaction to the “inhumanity” of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. It was three hours long and rich in the rhetorical indulgences that Tarkovsky was wont to permit himself. Lem was not its most militant admirer. At 96 minutes, Steven Soderbergh’s version is so wilfully serene that you fear for the patience and sanity of George Clooney’s core demographic.’ [Related: Solaris Trailer and Official Site]
[distraction] Ralph Wiggum Soundboard”I saw Principle Skinner and Mrs. Krobapple in the closet making babies, and I saw one of the babies, and one of the babies looked at me!!!’ [via Lukelog]
December 4, 2002
[comics] Interview with an Umpire — a massive interview with Grant Morrison on Barbelith

‘I was aware that I was holding a continuum, that’s when I started to develop ideas of comics as magic, comics as sigils, because I got to page 22 then I turned back to page 8; I thought, “I’m in this story which I don’t understand, I’ve read this bit, I can go back to the point where the characters don’t know what’s about to happen to them and I can experience it out of sequence” and I saw that this comic was this entire little universe/ continuum in it’s own right and also the wider implications; that the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe were also continuums in their own way created by people when I was a kid or before I was born. Maintained by people, who like these Demonic Corporations, maintained and kept these characters which were sustained by people who would come in and look after them; people who would come in and look after Scott Summers – it was that notion of the universe in your hands and the possibilities in that.’

[tv] Something I was wondering about today… Did Magnum, P.I. ever Jump the Shark?

‘This show never jumped because of these three words: JONATHAN QUAYLE HIGGINS!’

December 5, 2002
[comics] Newsarama do a Look Back at Daredevil: Last Rites … D.G. Chichester on Daredevil and Kingpin: ‘Here was a relationship that had grown cold and old. The Kingpin kept messing with Daredevil, Daredevil kept storming into his office and essentially saying, “I’ve had it with you fat man! You get in the way of justice one more time… no, I mean it, really, this time I’m serious… okay, so you crossed the line again but you do it just once more” and… It made Daredevil look prissy and ineffectual, and also took a lot of the charge out of the Kingpin. There was no surprise in his next craftiness because you knew it was just going to keep going and going and…’
December 6, 2002
[web] Little House on the Info Prairie — Danny O’Brien blogs interviewing Brewster Kahle … ‘I keep hearing him say “we can make a different world, by building it”, which sounds clumsy copied from my notes, but in context, spoken by Brewster Kahle in an old wooden house with a bunch of commodity web servers in one corner, a whiteboard with plans to scan a million books on the wall to the left, and shelf with a freshly minted Alice in Wonderland…’
[web] Wikipedia — a free encylopedia using a WikiWiki. ‘…a collaborative project to produce a free and complete encyclopedia in every language. We started in January 2001 and are already working on 94470 articles in the English version, with more being added and improved all the time. Anyone, including you, can edit any article right now, without even having to log in.’
December 7, 2002
[music] Drunken, disorderly and now a Toothless Rock Star — profile of Liam Gallagher … ‘Since the group’s first public manoeuvres in 1993, Liam has made a habit of suddenly bailing out of his band’s commitments, picking sufficiently serious fights with his elder brother to threaten their always-rickety alliance, and managing to offend even the most untouchable invitees at awards ceremonies and fashion shows. Liam is, let us not forget, the man who marked Oasis’s 1996 receipt of Q magazine’s “Best Act In The World Today” trophy by threatening to smash up a Park Lane ballroom and flicking his cigarette ash on Mick Jagger’s head.’
December 8, 2002
[usenet] Memorable Quotes from Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery … [via iamcal]

‘NASA uses Windows? Oh great. If Apollo 13 went off course today the manual would just tell them to open the airlock, flush the astronauts out, and re-install new ones.’ — Kibo

[confidential] The 10 Best Smoking Gun Stories of 2002 — Shift Magazine filters the best out of the Smoking Gun‘On the 25th anniversary of Presley’s death, we were treated to the nitty-gritty details of the Memphis Medical Examiner’s report. Apparently The King was circumsized… in case you wanted to know.’
December 9, 2002
[web] How the Wayback Machine Works — another interview with Brewster Kahle about how the Wayback Machine works … [via Bowblog]

‘Having the capital cost of equipment drop to effectively zero allows you to think bigger. You start thinking about the whole thing. For instance, the gutsy maneuver of saying “let’s index it all,” which was the breakthrough of Altavista. Altavista in 1995 was an astonishing achievement, not because of the hardware — yes, that was interesting and important from a technical perspective — but because of the mindset. “Let’s go index every document in the world.” And once you have that sort of mindset, you can get really far. So if all books are 20 TBs, and 20 TBs are $80,000, that’s the Library of Congress. Then something big has changed. All music? It’s tiny. It looks like there’re only one million records that have been produced over the last century. That’s tiny. All movies? All theatrical releases have been estimated at 100,000, and most of those from India. If you take all the rest of ephemeral films, that’s on the order of a couple hundred thousand. It’s just not that big. It allows you to start thinking about the whole thing.’

[comics] Kookymojo Comics Cupid [Part 1] [Part 2] — Anna is recommending good comics to newbies … ‘It’s [..] interesting to see how David approaches the notion of comics: from the words up only, with little consideration for the immediate relationship between words and images. Many people do this, probably because comics are book- or magazine-like, even though these same people have no trouble grasping the combination of words and images you get in subtitled films. I didn’t find out what kinds of art or movies he likes to look at (though I get an idea from reading his blog), but in comics the art is as important as the words — a bad artist can ruin a perfectly well-written story, but the combination of art and words is one of the reasons why I love the medium so much, and why I’m so keen to encourage others to share it.’
December 10, 2002
[web] Metafilter Wiki — a general guide for Metafilter using a Wiki. [via]
[film] Being Charlie Kaufman — preview of Adaptation‘”Do I have an original thought in my bald head?” Spike Jonze’s follow-up to Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, opens with this rhetorical question from its lead character, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’ [Related: Regarding: Adapatation]
December 11, 2002
[tv] Deconstructing Tony — academics take on the Sopranos‘He is the American Everyman, the embodiment of ruthless free-market capitalism, the defining figure of balding fat manhood in midlife crisis, and much else besides. It’s no wonder Gandolfini stoops, carrying that weight of symbolism around on his shoulders. That Tony also visits a shrink to discuss his problems, and that shrink in turn visits another shrink to discuss the problem of seeing Tony, makes him even more a target for intellectuals than he is for rival gangsters or the feds. Not only does he face imminent destruction but also endless deconstruction.’ [via Sashinka]
December 12, 2002
[comics] Interesting / amusing thread on Barbelith about Jessica Jones having sex with Ant-Man Scott Lang in Alias #17

‘The thought of Brian Bendis sitting at the computer, alone in his study, brow furrowed in concentration as he struggles to satisfyingly craft a serious sex scene involving fucking ANT-MAN (or, as the case may be, Ant-Man fucking), is comical. The thought that there is a significant number of people who have the desire to actually read such a story is less funny, and to me, very tragic.’

[blogs] Interconnected 2002.12.12 — Matt remembers his singularity … ‘If everything about me can be traced back to an ultimate cause, if I’m an expansion from first principles, a condensation of a reality expanded from a single point, a tissue-rhizome of beliefs and values unfolded like a chinese puzzle, then my singularity was when I was ten, fourteen years ago today…’
December 13, 2002
[film] Menace to Society — profile / interview with David Cronenberg‘[He worked on] an abortive sequel to Basic Instinct which, after months in pre-production, finally collapsed amid byzantine legal wrangling. A lucky escape? Cronenberg’s not so sure. “I don’t know,” he says. “I honestly think it could have been…surprisingly good. That’s what I wanted, something that would creep up on people, a truly perverse, erotic thriller. And the script was great, it really was. So the frustration is not knowing. Because certainly logic might point toward it going horribly wrong, but…you can never quite tell.”‘
[google] GooFresh — keyword search for recent additions to Google’s database of webpages.
December 16, 2002
[newspapers] Hate Mail — profile of Paul Dacre editor of the Daily Mail‘One associate says that Dacre reminds more and more of Basil Fawlty — “intemperate and slightly mad” — every time he sees him. “The ideal Dacre story is one that leaves the reader hating somebody or something,” says one former Mail reporter, and what the paper really hates are the liberalism and multiculturalism at the heart of Britain’s changing society. The Mail has worked itself into a lather over asylum-seekers, but accuse it of racism and you come up against Dacre’s brilliantly orchestrated campaign to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice.’
[comics] Warren Ellis interviews Justine Shaw the creator of Nowhere Girl‘I think with comics, using pictures as well as words, you can do things you can’t do as well in books or maybe even films, you can get out ideas that are “between the lines”, that is, you never state something out loud, but give the reader a sense of that thing, let them make their own thing out of it. I really do comics because I am a fanatical anal-retentive control freak, and a comic allows me to do literally all aspects of the production work without having to depend on someone else for any of it.’
December 17, 2002
[comics] Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer are selling original art on eBay

Milk and Cheese -- We Tamper in God's Domain!

December 18, 2002
[film] Orchid Fever — article from the New Yorker which was the initial inspiration for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s film Adaptation … [via lukelog]

‘Collecting can be a sort of lovesickness. If you begin collecting living things, you are pursuing something imperfectible, and even if you manage to find them and then possess them, there is no guarantee they won’t die or change. The botanical complexity of orchids and their mutability makes them perhaps the most compelling and maddening of all collectible living things. There are nearly twenty thousand named species of orchids — it is the largest flowering-plant family on earth. New orchids are being created in laboratories or discovered every day, and others exist only in tiny numbers in remote places. To desire orchids is to have a desire that can never be fully requited. A collector who wants one of every orchid species will die before even coming close.’

[drink] Hangover Cures — from H2G2‘Hair of the Dog — A tot of alcohol in the morning. For some particularly nasty hangovers, this can be useful, although the bad news is that the effect is only temporary. The liver attacks poisons in a certain order, with ethanol first. Once all the ethanol has been broken down, it starts on the methanol, which releases formic acid into your system and makes you feel bad. Hitting the liver with another dose of ethanol causes it to stop processing methanol and start on the new threat, but the methanol will have to be processed sometime so you are only postponing the hangover until later.’
December 19, 2002
[xmas] Cut-Up Christmas Card — nice flash distraction from Steve Bell.
December 20, 2002
[2002] The sheer class of 2002 — John Patterson reviews the best of 2002 …

‘The performance of the year, it turned out, was on TV, not at the movies. In the fourth season of The Sopranos, Edie Falco proved that there’s almost no one out there fit to compare with her. Thwarted in love, insulted, wounded, and finally rising up in rage and anguish against her entire existence, her Carmella Soprano was the richest and most thoroughly conceived performance of the year by man or woman. The season finale was more like Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage than conventional American TV drama, with Falco working every level of her incredible range, from emotional catatonia to screaming fury and back, without a false note.’

December 22, 2002
[comics] Comic book feedback: Letters lose to the Web — the death of the letters page in US comic books … ‘DC Comics recently announced the end of its letters-to-the-editor pages in all of its titles, more or less admitting that no one was really taking the time to write and mail letters to superheroes anymore. DC’s decision to kill off letters — and with Marvel Comics inclined to do the same — is a surrender to the far superior powers of the Internet. Fans haven’t complained about the loss; they’re too busy flaming each other on comic book Web sites.’ [via Boing Boing]
December 23, 2002
[xmas] The Wrap Trap — Mil Millington on Christmas Presents … ‘Presents are what Christmas is made of. The joy (or disappointment, or horror) of receiving them, the joy (or misery, or trauma) of finding them for others; the paraphernalia of present use; the shocking void created by the present that never came; and the Christmas remembered by the present that did. It is a rite with precise rules; “a shopping trip to buy Christmas presents for one’s extended family” is what it says in the OED under the entry for “dispiriting”; looking down at a freshly opened present and realising with sudden, suffocating dismay that this item is how the giver – and possibly the world – sees you; the special laugh you use to indicate how very funny the comedy socks you’ve just been given are: all these things and more are intertwined.’
[comics] Time’s rates the Best Comics of 2002‘Eightball #22. This single, self-contained issue of his regular series Eightball finds inspiration in the style of filmmaker Robert Altman. Its 29 shorts range in length from a single strip to several pages; each one works alone as well as with the others, weaving multiple characters and multiple stories into one cohesive whole.’
December 24, 2002
[tv] A Lucky Man lurks behind David Brent — interesting profile of Ricky Gervais. ‘…when he appeared in Channel 4’s celebrity poker tournament — alongside Martin Amis, Patrick Marber and Anthony Holden — there was a story of an off-camera spat with Stephen Fry, which ended in Gervais saying: “Yeah, but at least I’m not gay.” Was that Ricky Gervais talking, or just “Ricky Gervais”? Does he do it to annoy, because he knows it teases, or does he not realise how it comes across?’
December 27, 2002
[comics] Heroes and Villains — Edward Said reviews Palestine by Joe Sacco … [via Bugpowder]

‘…comics provided one with a directness of approach (the attractively overstated combination of pictures and words) that seemed unassailably true on the one hand and marvellously close, impinging, familiar on the other. In ways that I still find fascinating to decode, comics in their relentless foregrounding – far more, say, than film cartoons or funnies (neither of which mattered much to me) seemed to say what couldn’t otherwise be said, or wasn’t permitted to be said or imagined, defying the ordinary processes of thought, which are policed, shaped and reshaped by all sorts of pedagogical as well as ideological pressures. I knew nothing of this then, but I felt that comics freed me to think and imagine and see differently.’

December 29, 2002
[comics] Ennis’ War Stories — Newsarama interview with Garth Ennis. ‘…what’s most fascinating is the psychology and the behavior of people at the sharp end — the kind of stories that come out of people at this extreme edge of human existence, one that we don’t even have to imagine, as we do with fantasy or science fiction, or even in some crime drama. We don’t have to imagine this, because it was real. In the case of the Second World War, it was the most crucial event in the history of the 20th Century. It defined the rest of the century — it’s real, it actually happened. The drama that comes out of that is more gripping than almost anything else that we take drama from.’
December 31, 2002
[lmg] US Marine Toilet Graffiti in Afghanistan — If I had to choose a favorite quote from LMG in 2002 it would probably be this one:

Thus the graffiti on the walls of the Portakabins where, if you got to them later than 9am, you’d be greeted by a 5ft-high pile of soldiers’ faeces:

Toilet 7: “I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds’; ‘I am become Bored, Destroyer of Motivation”

Toilet 3: “Though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil, because I am the meanest motherfucker in the valley.”

Toilet 6: “MARINE – Muscles Are Required, Intelegance [sic] Not Essential”

Toilet 2 (women only): “I miss my cat.”

Happy New Year. More of the same in 2003.