Tuesday, February 19, 2008

· What's he building in there?

Kevin Huizenga has been posting some tantalizing bits and pieces of what he explains is "a top secret project" over at his blog The Balloonist. Something post-apocalyptic? Looks great, can't wait.

Links here, here and here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I was lucky enough to score an invite to the sincerely awesome image bookmarking site FFFFOUND! I've since spent too many hours browsing the stuff other users have saved and forming my own scrapbook of internet flotsam, which, looking it over, seems to show a pretty well-unified sensibility. My page is here. The site seems to be in an interminable private beta, and I wish I had more invites to give away, but I don't. For those less fortunate, there is the somehow less cool vi.sualize.us.

Monday, February 04, 2008

· Body Horror

I just watched David Croneberg's 1986 film The Fly. Hoo boy. What a gnarly movie. I have to admit that I am a big wuss, though: I couldn't watch it all in one sitting, and in the end, I was only able to finish it by playing a video game at the same time so that my attention was divided. I found The Fly very similar to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, another film to which I had similar reaction, years ago, and also couldn't watch all at once. Both films are about a man progressively turning into something else (In Tetsuo, the main character becomes a machine).

Why such a strong reaction? Well, in these films we identify with the characters portrayed, projecting our own identities on to them. Because we can see ourselves in them, we want them to be safe and to succeed against the odds. But both of these movies function as a reversal of standard tropes of the horror genre. The hero isn't just being pursued by the monster, the hero is the monster. That's much scarier. It gets much worse when sex is added in and becomes an act of violence. Yikes.

Nevertheless, I have another Cronenberg film, Scanners, in my Netflix queue. Am I a glutton for punishment or what?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

· Humor

I've been thinking a lot about the science of humor. There was a New Yorker article a few years ago that started me in this direction, discussing, among other things, attempts to determine the world's funniest joke and world's funniest animal (a duck).

The other day I turned up a link to a Smithsonian piece by Steve Martin. Martin talks about his early experiments with an audience's expectations of comedy. The result is that the audience doesn't know quite when to laugh, but they expect that something funny has occurred, and there is a buildup of tension that they want to release. Steve Martin, in my opinion, is an interesting comedian because he seems to be one half of a comic duo; a funny man without a straight man. He is absurd but without a yardstick of normalcy except the one we bring ourselves--Bugs Bunny without Elmer Fudd, let's say.

One tip I gleaned from the article: "My routines wove the verbal with the physical, and I found pleasure trying to bring them in line. Each spoken idea had to be physically expressed as well." There is something here that can be directly translated to comics, but I'm not entirely sure how yet.

I'm interested in reading more on the subject, and Martin's recent Memoir, Born Standing Up, is on my reading list. What else is out there?

Aside: Jeez, it's been a long time since I posted here.