Post #50

February 4, 2007

Throughout the week, without enough time to properly compose new entries, I’ve been pasting links and notes into the machine to create this mosaic. Because I wrote it, it’s materialistic and fawning. Enjoy.

  • Warren Ellis says this song is “Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant,” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but on the album I just bought off iTunes (Some Loud Thunder it is “Five Easy Pieces,” and remains terrific. I don’t know if that dude’s saying anything (and thus, if I agree with him) but it’s a great song.
  • Just so we’re clear, you and I agree that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a lousy title, don’t we?
  • My copy of Guy Davis’s newest sketchbook, Sketch Macabre 2, has arrived with a very nice note from Guy himself. As you can assume from the words Guy, Davis, and book, it’s magnificent. If you like Guy Davis’s work (and you do), pick up both the sketchbooks from Guy’s site, if you haven’t already.
  • In related news, the BPRD: The Universal Machine trade paperback is also terrific, but since you bought every issue of that story at your local comic shop, you knew that already. More Guy Davis designs in the back of that book, too, you know.
  • Not by design, I also picked up The Amazing Screw-On Head on DVD, because a store in my area accidentally broke the street date (I guess). You saw this on SciFi.com already, so you know this is great, but besides a smattering of special features, the disc also features a little booklet with original concept sketches by Davis and Mike Mignola, so you know I wanted it. (If you didn’t watch the pilot on SciFi.com, by the way, it’s your fault that this show never went to series, and for that you’ll have to get a little punishment.)
  • The newest issue of JPG Magazine tells us it’s okay to take blurry pictures. To which I say, “No shit.” Blur can be honest. Blurs are genuine. Meaningfully blurry pictures feel alive. But we know that already. This is a terrific issue, though, as you could tell from the red “JPG” box on the cover. Great example of a great magazine. The tourist and souvenir photo arrays are a great match for each other.
  • Here. Watch Andrew Bird performing “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” live (er, on YouTube) and you’ll see why he’s fucking astounding. Live, there on stage, he’s layering all these violin elements, he’s switching back and forth between fiddle and guitar without a slip, and that whistle is coming right out of his fucking mouth, people. It’s fabulous. Get thee to a venue and see him live, for Andrew Bird is the bomb, ye verily.
  • Speaking of things to watch on the internet, Poker After Dark is a great poker program, with every episode available (for a little while, at least) on NBC.com after it’s aired. Throughout the week, you get shown almost every hand at a $120,000 tournament table with great players. Then on Saturday you get the so-called Director’s Cut, which condenses the whole one-table tournament into one hour, with talking head interviews and all that. If nothing else, it’s great to watch all these poker greats engage in exactly the same desperate pleading, lame banter, luck talk and “wouldn’t it be great if?” musings as every plebeian mook I’ve ever played with (including myself). This is a great week for you to start with, too. Go and watch Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari in Friday’s segment, then convince NBC to make a show about these two guys. (Use the phrase “pair of jokers,” though, and you’re done here.) Their final hand, for all its inevitability, is just good television.
  • This week, I finally got to lay my hands on the new MIT Press book, Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (at Amazon, via Booksense), from the inestimable Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. An essay of mine (with a lousy title) is in there, but so are lots of good ones from Jordan Mechner, George R.R. Martin, Kevin Wilson, Ken Hite, Greg Costikyan, James Wallis, Rebecca Borgstrom and other game-thinking luminaries. Plus, it reprints Wallis’ Baron Munchausen RPG in its entirety, along with two other games, so it’s a steal at $40. Just a couple of weeks ago I sent off my manuscript for this book’s sequel, Third Person. (I’ll write a post dedicated to Second Person, I’ll bet, once I’ve had time to read more of it.)

  • Squirrel Nut Zippers are playing in Atlanta this Friday. I’ve never seen them live. You better believe I will this time.

Music: Amon Tobin & Michael Shrieve, “Oracle”



  1. Actually, “Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant” is track 6, but “Five Eay Pieces” is eleven. But, yes the entire album is awesome.

  2. Are you familiar with the band, DeVotchKa? The Andrew Bird piece reminded me enough of the concert I’ve heard of theirs to make me go and check the identity of the band members to make certain there wasn’t some overlap.

    http://www.devotchka.net/cms/ – has some samples of their music

    On a similar note, I’m fascinated by artists who manage to create an entire group’s worth of sound themselves.

    Some of my favorites:
    KT Tunstall – Black Horse and A Cherry Tree –

    Imogene Heap – Just for Now – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSIbfzK2spg&eurl=

  3. Oh, yes. Devotchka’s great. “Queen of the Surface Streets” actually gets referenced in Damnation City.

    Andrew Bird was, back when, the violinist for Squirrel Nut Zippers now and again. His solo albums are uniformly terrific. I highly recommend them.

    My wife points out that you can’t play the fiddle as well as he does (or get that unearthly whistle) without beating the Devil in a contest.

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