Monday, October 29, 2007

Seeing Walla Walla Clearly

JOURNAL REVOLUTION: seeing clearly

Cousin Linda writes in her blog about visiting Walla Walla this past week for Aunt Dorothy's funeral.  She illustrates her post with some photos of the town that, somehow, look more beautiful than the photographed objects ever did in real life.  Even if you grow up in a place, you never truly see it until you look through an artist's eyes.

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Other perspectives on the pilgrimage to Walla Walla come from Linda's brother Tod, and their uncle Burl Barer

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Visual Journaling vs. Scrapbooking

Here's some footage I shot Tuesday night of my cousins Tod, Karen and Linda at their event at Borders Westwood. The complete video of the event (not shot by me) should show up in the near future on Linda and Karen's blog.

Aunt Dorothy's Obituary

NWsource: death notices

This obituary just hints at the full life Aunt Dorothy led.

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Comic Numb3rs

NUMB3RS - a photoset on Flickr

An upcoming episode of the TV mystery series NUMB3RS, titled "Graphic,"  is set at a comics convention.  To add authenticity, the set decorators borrowed art, photos, toys, and entire booths from actual comic convention exhibitors.  Colleen Doran's booth, posters and art will be there -- but Colleen won't; she couldn't make the trip out to LA for filming.

Wil Wheaton (who played Wesley Crusher on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION about a generation ago) will play a comics creator on the episode.  The above link is to photos he took on the set -- including of a table covered with autographed STTNG photos.  And yes, one of the photos depicts Wheaton in his Wesley Crusher role.

My cousin Lee Goldberg's next MONK tie-in novel, MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE, depicts Monk at a science fiction convention.  If the book is ever filmed as an episode, maybe they can buy some stock footage from this NUMB3RS episode.  (Then again, so many SF folks are also Monk fans that they could probably get loans of materials just like the NUMB3RS producers.)

Thanks to Ms. Doran for the info.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

King of the Wild Coastline

I snapped these, using my phone camera, from the Plaza Del Sol of the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort (which used to be the Fess Parker Red Lion Hotel) in Santa Barbara, where I'm staying for a client conference. I took the train up, which gave me a look at some of the ugliest parts of LA before I finally hit coastline in Ventura County. Some may recall Mr. Parker as the actor who portrayed both Davy Crockett and (later) Daniel Boone on TV.

Harpo Speaks

news from me - ARCHIVES

In his blog, Mark Evanier writes about the various attempts to produce an animated TV series about the Marx Brothers.  As with many of Groucho's routines, the punchline is worth the price of admission.  (How the line got in the punch, I'll never know .)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Mean Streets of Akihibara

Twins Sent to Jail for Extorting from Akihabara Otaku - Anime News Network

You may remember the episode of Friends in which Phoebe confesses that when she was young, she used to target "comics shop nerds" for mugging -- and that she had mugged a pretreen Ross.

Apparently this team of twins didn't mug anime fans on the streets of Akihibara -- they didn't have to.  Instead, they exploited both the rigid etiquette rules of Japan and the fear of real-life females that these fans likely hold; and extorted money from the fans as an "apology" for bumping into the female twin.

Fortunately, the long arm of the law punished them for their rampant otaku exploitation.

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Dad adds to the Tributes to Aunt Dorothy

A Barer

My father, Dorothy Barer's nephew, supplies some choice memories of Aunt Dorothy on his blog.

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Farewell, Aunt Dorothy

This evening, I attended my cousins Linda and Karen's book signing/interview at Borders Westwood; and learned the sad news that their grandmother -- my Aunt Dorothy -- passed away this morning at the age of 95.  Linda, Karen, their brothers Tod and Lee, their mother Jan, and their families were all there to celebrate the sisters' latest accomplishment -- and the life of their grandmother.  The photo is from Linda and Karen's blog.  Follow the link for their tribute to their Nana.
JOURNAL REVOLUTION: oh no, Nana died!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Celebrating the 10th

Our 10th wedding anniversary was back on August 16. But we were so busy in August & September that we ended up throwing our celebration on October 21. That afternoon, we threw a brunch at Kay & Dave's Cantina in West LA. We had about 22 people show up, including friends and family. Several margaritas, tacos and burritos ensued, in addition to a bread pudding and a pumpkin flan (served in a pumpkin!)

Plus, a few days earlier, our favorite comic book store (the one in which we first met), Comics Ink, threw us an impromptu champagne-and-fruit celebration. The event turned into a "This Is Your Life" overview of my Southern California comics store experience -- lots of people from the store's past showed up, including Mondo, my boss when I worked at the Westwood Graphitti store in the mid '80's.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Harry Potter Mystery Revealed

J.K.Rowling Official Site - Harry Potter and more

Rowling's official site apparently has nothing (yet) about her outing of Dumbledore.  But it does answer one question left unanswered at the end of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.   Go to the site, click on "Wizard of the Month," and then click on the "dark mark" (green skull with a snake in its mouth) to reveal this "spoiler."

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I shot these clips on the first evening of our Japan trip (August 29, 2007) on the "Airport Limousine" bus that was transporting us from the Narita Airport to Yokohama.

The music is "Beautiful World," written and sung by Utada Hikaru. This song is from the Evangelion movie that premiered in theaters while we were in Japan.

I'll be posting more videos and other images from Japan in the near future.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

2007 Hugos: Ultra-Skit

I shot this from the audience of the Hugo Awards in Yokohama. The Japanese fans sure know how to put on an opening skit.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Other Voices from the Borders

This afternoon I road my bike up Westwood Boulevard to the Borders bookstore on the outskirts of Westwood Village (if South of Wilshire counts as the outskirts). Cousin Tod and other writers published by Other Voices press read excerpts from their works. All of the excerpts featured unfortunate characters doing and saying inappropriate things. Fun stuff.

Me on the iPod Again

Donald Burr has posted another edition of his "Otaku no Podcast. This one has me as part of a telephone panel discussion. Downloadable to your computer, iPod, iRiver, Zune, or tin-can-and-string.

What the Well-Dressed Dictator is Wearing This Fall

Castro calls Chavez during live broadcast -

Castro is unfortunately ignoring the time-honored rule:  No red, white and blue track suits after Labor Day.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Perfecting" Ann Coulter

I'm a bit hesitant to comment on Ann Coulter. My general policy is not to comment on writing I haven't read, and I don't read Coulter's writing -- as I generally limit the poison I take in my literary diet.

But I've read enough articles to know that she specializes in outrageous comments that seem designed to offend and call attention to her and her writing -- like a pet who signals her annoyance by piddling on the carpet.

According to the LA Times:
"The latest furor erupted over an exchange Coulter had Monday with CNBC host Donny Deutsch on his show, 'The Big Idea,' during which she said the country would be better off if everyone were Christian. When Deutsch -- who is Jewish -- asked if she wanted to get rid of Judaism, Coulter responded, 'We just want Jews to be perfected.'"

This comment about my people makes me wonder several things. First, whether this will be the comment that finally turns people off from her sideshow, and allows her to fade into obscurity. Second, how many ignorant bigots will cheer her for it. And finally, how my late Uncle Dave would have responded to her comments, based on my father's blog post about Uncle Dave's pointed riposte to a customer who uttered similar remarks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Farewell, Miss Moneypenny

I'm posting this from a Wi-Fi Watering Hole (The Funnel Mill) because the Time-Warner techs came to our house Thursday, switched over our digital phone system from the Comcast system to TW, and knocked out our cable Internet modem. We are cut off from the Information Superhighway until they send out more techs next Thursday. Curse Time-Warner Cable. May a syphilitic camel drop dead in their couscous.

Anyway, I was saddened last week to read of the death of Lois Maxwell, the original (and best) Miss Moneypenny from the James Bond movies. Moneypenny was an indispensible part of the Bond formula -- indeed, she shows up early in the first JB novel, CASINO ROYALE.

Ironically, on the day she died I watched the first part of the beautifully restored DR. NO released on DVD last year. You can see in the movie how crucial her few minutes in each Bond film were to the story. The movie opens with two macabre murders. We switch to the MI-6 radio receivers' room; then to the club where we first see Bond. In his first scene, Bond, as played by Sean Connery, is elegant, but as cold as ice. Only when he pops into M's antechamber and banters with Moneypenny do we see a hint of humanity in him. Granted, he shamelessly sexually harasses Moneypenny, but those scenes are just as valuable as the ones in M's office, where we see that M is the only man who can make even James Bond feel like a schoolboy caught in a shameful prank.

As M finally said in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, "What would I ever do without you, Moneypenny?"