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Profoundly Perfect

Posted on February 13th, 2017

Dave!This afternoon as I was mentally preparing myself to drive home a day earlier than planned, I saw a kid with a Curious George backpack walk by. As I've mentioned numerous times, Curious George is a personal hero of mine, and any time I see him being embraced by a new generation, it's worth celebrating.

Which reminds me of my GoodReads review of one of my favorite books ever...

Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margret Rey, H.A. Rey
★★★★★
Recommended to David by: God
Recommended for: All Humanity
   
Dave!After re-reading "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" I am convinced that it is the peak of literary perfection, unmatched by any other human accomplishment. The entire spectrum of drama is fully represented in a tale so filled with wonder and delight as to make all other books redundant. The fact that the story's wealth of knowledge and inspiration is so remarkably accessible to persons of most any age is surely a testament to the unarguable brilliance of Margret & H.A. Rey. I loathe to attribute something as mundane as a "Star Rating" to such a transcendentally significant work which redefines the boundaries of human/primate existence, and so eloquently conveys the folly and ultimate triumph of monkeykind... but if forced to do so under the GoodReads review standard, I offer TWENTY-SIX STARS (of which only five are be visible for some reason). You owe it to yourself... nay, you owe it to ALL HUMANITY... to read this literary masterwork and thrill to the sublime illustrated artistic triumphs which accompany it. "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" is, quite simply, the most profoundly perfect book ever created, and shall undoubtedly remain so until the end of time.

Yes. It really is that good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my cats are crawling all over me because my being gone for two days apparently felt like it was two months.

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Bullet Sunday 494

Posted on December 4th, 2016

Dave!Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!...

for behold! An all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Groot! There can be no greater news on the internet right now than the new teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn't open until May and I already want to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3...

   
• Less. Having a mortgage wouldn't be so bad if nothing would ever break down and require expensive repairs. But it does. About every two months. And just when you think everything that has broken down has broken down and been fixed? Along comes something new. Which is why a letter for my lender was cause for excitement...

LETTER: "Congratulations! Your mortgage payment has gone down!"
ME: "No way!"
LETTER: "Way!"
ME: "NO! WAY!"
LETTER: "YES WAY!"
ME: "Dude, sweet!"
LETTER: "We're deducting $4.15 from your payment starting next month."
ME: "Fuck you, Letter."

...or not.

   
• Fixed? I love the HGTV series Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna's design aesthetic and rapport makes for a great show... especially if you're into home renovation like I am. And while I am able to mentally divide my entertainment personality's personal life from their work... it's really tough to watch the show knowing that they attend a church which would happily push conversion therapy on their four kids should any of them be gay. How can you support that?

Fixer Upper.

Even if the Gaines's don't advocate conversion therapy or aren't opposed to marriage equality... they (assumably) financially support a church that does. They are a part of the segment of society persecuting LGBT persons and, more specifically LGBT youth, just for being who they are. And it's this part of our society which is responsible for the toxicity behind the epidemic of suicides among our gay youth. They listen to the idiotic rhetoric of a church like this and think nobody... including God... will accept them as they are and see no way out. No amount of Texas charm or design sense can compensate for that.

   
• Our Dolphin. Here it is... the first book out of Thrice Fiction Magazine's Thrice Publishing. It is a wonderful, wonderful novella by Joel Allegretti that I'm incredibly proud to have had a small part in unleashing on the world...

Fixer Upper.

Order a copy for your holiday reading list... or order a dozen for gifts that are sure to be appreciated! Click here to get Our Dolphin at Amazon.

   
• Crazy. I don't know what's more shocking. That Fake Jake pounded into the catio at a full-on sprint across the back yard... or that Real Jake just sat there at the point of impact and watched it happen without even blinking...

Jenny is still scared of Fake Jake's crazy antics... but Jake is all "meh" about it now.

   
• DST. Global humiliation, domestic devastation, and the threat of nuclear war would all be worth it if President Trump abolishes clock changes and makes Daylight Savings Time permanent this coming Spring. Just sayin'.

   
Well, I guess that's it for bullets. Probably. I dunno. Maybe in an hour I'll come back and add ten more.

   

Cross-Section

Posted on May 4th, 2016

Dave!It's Star Wars Day! May The Fourth Be With You!

Interestingly enough, Star Wars has been on my mind a lot lately because I'm finally getting around to looking at all the cool books I bought when The Force Awakens was unleashed. By far my favorite has been Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections.

I've long been a huge fan of cross-section illustrations. It all started when I bought a cross-section poster of the USS Enterprise when the movie franchise was started. It was glorious, and made the ship (thus the show) seem more real to me...

USS Enterprise Cross-Section Poster

It was around that time that I discovered the incredible books by Stephen Biesty. He did many amazing illustrations of both fantasy, history, and contemporary places and things. I spent hours looking through as many as I could find...

Stephen Biesty Cross-Section Illustration

Stephen Biesty Cross-Section Illustration

Biesty led me to a love of all things David Macaulay, who isn't so much a cross-section artist, but an illustrator who excels at explaining things. He even had his own TV show which supplemented documentary-style looks at cool stuff like the pyramids with his illustrations...

But I digress...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections is a book filled with exactly what you'd think it would be filled with... amazing illustrations of all things Star Wars cut away to show inside and how they work...

Star Wars Cross-Section

Star Wars Cross-Section

And yes, this is the infamous book that showed how Han Solo installed a kitchen for Princess Leia that had the internet up in arms a while back. Though, to be honest, I never saw this as sexist... I just saw it as Leia refusing to live like savages...

Star Wars Cross-Section

   
Anyway... even if you're not a massive cross-sections fan like myself, if you're a Star Wars fan, this book is still definitely worth a look...

Star Wars Cross-Section

You can get your own copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens... Incredible Cross-Sections for pretty cheap... it's just $14 at Amazon.

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Thrice Fiction 16

Posted on April 23rd, 2016

Dave!Hey!

Hey, you!

Like reading stories and looking at art?

You do? I'm not surprised. Did you know that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction is now available? And did you know you can download it absolutely FREE from our website?

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

If you didn't, now you do! Go check it out, won't you? We're now sixteen issues strong, and every issue is available absolutely FREE for immediate download...

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

I'll be back next week to discuss the works that appear in the issue. In the meanwhile, enjoy!

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Things I Bought Week: Part 1

Posted on January 5th, 2016

Dave!Welcome to the first installment of Things I Bought Week, showcasing stuff that I recently purchased and what I think of what I got for my hard earned money!

First up? The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens...


The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cover

   
I liked The Force Awakens okay, and will review the film in another couple weeks (once I'm sure most of the people who want to see it have seen it). If you are one of the billions of people who has already seen the film and also enjoyed it, the Art Of... book is worth a look.

Like all of these type books, it's a compilation of a shit-ton of pre-production art that was used when developing the look of the movie. What makes this one a little different is that it's not organized into sections (locations, characters, props, vehicles, etc.) but is instead presented chronologically. This is very cool in the case of Force Awakens, where the story, concepts, and characters changed quite a lot as the movie what coming together. Seeing how things evolved in relations to each other is fascinating, and it's interesting to learn how changes in one part of the film influenced changes in another.

A lot of times, these books are only as good as the talented people creating the art and, since this is Lucasfilm, you're getting a great many people who are the absolute best in the industry being showcased. This would all be all for nothing if the images of their work were cut down to tiny sizes, but a lot of the time it's occupying full pages... and double-page spreads. And since the book is a nice size, you really get a good look at the painstaking detail that went into every piece.

Overall, this is a beautiful book with a lot of interesting information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you're a fan of the film... or just a fan of the Star Wars universe in general, this is pretty much essential reading.

RATING: A • DAVE APPROVEDCurrently selling for $24 at Amazon.

   

THRICE 15.2

Posted on January 3rd, 2016

Dave!Welcome to PART TWO of a discussion about the art that's running in the latest issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine!

If you haven't read PART ONE yet, you should do that first.

And if you haven't downloaded a FREE copy of our August 2015 issue... then you should definitely do that first because, WARNING... SPOILERS MAY ENSUE!

Thrice Fiction No. 15

Alrighty then...

It's a forgone conclusion that not all writers are going to be happy with the art that gets paired with their work. And while the idea of such a thing is upsetting to me, I've pretty much made my peace with it. Artwork is highly subjective to begin with, and then you've got to take into account all the possible pitfalls that come with trying to interpret the written word for a visual representation. And it doesn't seem to matter how much detail the writer puts into their story. On the contrary, the more specific the writer is, the more difficult it can be to meet expectations. "I said the main character had a big nose... but I didn't mean THAT big!"

But if the alternative to sometimes getting it wrong from the author's perspective is to have no artwork at all, I think it's a risk worth taking.

Because I can't imagine THRICE Fiction without the art.

And, on that note... on with the show...

   

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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HeLa

Posted on November 3rd, 2015

Dave!You know... I would never presume to tell a parent what they should or should not allow their child to read.

Even the stupid parents. It's their kid... they should get to decide that. But it is quite another matter for said parent to decide FOR ALL OTHER KIDS what should or should not be read.

And yet...

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is absolutely fascinating reading, and there is much to be learned from her story (I can't wait for the movie!). There is NOTHING in the book that could even remotely be considered "pornography." Especially for a 15 year old kid who lives in the Real World. And yet, some bored woman in Tennessee with a bug up her vagina is wanting to have it banned...

Ruth Coker Burks

Well fuck her.

Let other parents decide for themselves if it's appropriate reading for THEIR OWN DAMN KIDS. I am so sick and tired of ignorant dumbasses constantly pushing for society to be lowered to their level of idiocy.

Stay in your ignorance bubble if you want... just leave the rest of us out of your dumbfuckery.

If you want to know more about the woman whom the book in question is written about, here's the Wikipedia page for Henrietta Lacks. And if that's not enough... I can't recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks highly enough.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

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Making Of…

Posted on October 24th, 2015

Dave!I think that I've mentioned a couple times now how much I love "making of" and "art of" books for movies I enjoy. There's something about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaking process and all the hard work involved that makes me love great movies even more.

My obsession started when I was 11 years old. I saw Star Wars and was desperate to find out everything I could about the movie. In the days before the internet, this meant scouring the magazine stands. Fortunately, Star Wars was such a huge phenomena that there was no shortage of magazine articles. Unfortunately, most of them were devoted to fluff pieces and corny interviews with the stars. Nothing had much depth or new information.

Until I discovered Starlog magazine, issue no. 7...

Starlog No. 7

This amazing resource for science fiction fans provided a glimpse into movies that was unlike anything else. Not only did they talk about the films I loved... they featured articles that discussed how they were made...

Starlog No. 7
You too can download issues of Starlog from the Internet Archive!

And I was hooked.

Starlog eventually led to a love affair with Cinefex in 1980, which was nothing but lush, in-depth, behind the scenes information! The magazine dissected movie special effects to an unprecedented level, and I was in cinephile heaven...

Cinefex No. 1

Eventually the "making of" books came along. Most of the time they were a step backwards from Cinefex, but I still bought them. Reluctantly.

All that changed in 2007 when The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film was released...

Making of Star Wars Book

This absolute masterpiece of film documentation reignited my love of "behind the scenes" books and has been leading me on the road to bankruptcy ever since. Not just with new releases, but with past releases as well. Like The Story of The Fifth Element, a terrific book from 1997...

LEELOO DALLAS MULTIPASS!

   
Currently, I'm obsessed with all the "art of" books for Disney/Pixar feature films... and, of course, all the Marvel movie books, which have been fantastic...

The Art of Guardians of the Galaxy

   
If you're a fan of these books like me, there are two new releases you should be aware of...

Ultimate Visual Guide Back to the Future and Ghostbusters

"Ultimate Visual History" books for Back to the Future and Ghostbusters!

Both volumes are very nicely made and have loads of great info. Spot varnish on the photos is featured throughout (something I love in a book!) and they tried to make them a bit more fun and accessible by including "souvenirs" from the movies that they stick to pages here and there.

In the Back to the Future book you get such things as the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that Jennifer writes her phone number on (but it's white instead of blue)... the letter Marty writes to Doc to warn him about getting shot... the receipt from "Blast from the Past" for Grays Sports Almanac (but it's paper instead of clear plastic).

The Ghostbusters book doesn't have "souvenirs" so much as "production inserts" that feature artwork, storyboards, and an animation cell. Overall I wish they had not included the extra pieces, because they're just going to damage the pages they've been adhered to. You can easily remove them (the "glue" they use is that removable "booger snot" stuff) but then they're going to get lost. This kind of gimmicky crap never works as well as publishers think it does.

Still, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are two of my favorite movies of all time, so I'm happy to have these editions. They claim to feature never-before-seen images and exclusive interviews, so that alone will make the books essential buys for the completist.

Hopefully publisher Insight Editions will release other books in this series. I'm still waiting for a making of Spaceballs book.

   

Bookish

Posted on October 9th, 2015

Dave!The pressure's on the screen
To sell you things that you don't need
It's too much information for me

Too Much Information by Duran Duran

For quite a while now, I've been simplifying my life by getting rid of junk I don't need. And, more importantly, I've been trying to stop buying the stuff I don't really need which will turn into tomorrow's junk.

For the most part, I've been fairly successful. I rarely purchase any kind of "luxury good" on impulse now-a-days. Everything I buy is carefully thought-out. If there's something I think I just have to have, I'll put it on a wish-list and sit on it for a week. It's shocking how most of the time things I was so desperate to buy seven days ago gets scratched off the list because, upon further reflection, it isn't that important to improving my life.

The one area where I fail miserably is books.

For the most part, I've switched to digital books and digital comics because I just don't have room to store any more of them... but I love physical books so much that it's impossible for me to give them up completely.

"Art of the Movie" books are my worst offenders. I buy every Marvel Cinematic Universe book they release... which includes not just the movies, but the TV series too. I also buy every Pixar "Art of the Movie" book and most of the Disney ones as well. Needless to say, I buy loads of Star Wars and Star Trek books because it's impossible not to. I absolutely love being able to get a peek behind the scenes of how the movies I love are developed and crafted, and this is not something that translates well to digital eBooks, so I bite the bullet and purchase the real books. And a lot of the time they're fairly large. Which means more clutter.

Comic books are also problematic, because I would far rather own a physical copy over some digital representation. Alas, I have more comics than I can manage as it is, so digital it is. Unless... I run across issues that are missing from my epic runs of Batman, Action, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Legion of Super-Heroes* If I see any holes in my collection I can fill for a reasonable price, my wallet is out so fast that my credit card never knew what hit it.

Things wouldn't be so bad if I could convince myself to unload the hundreds of crappy comics I don't even like... but I never can. You just don't know when an emergency situation will arise where I'll be desperate to read an issue of Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, for example.

And so I have boxes and boxes of comics and shelves and shelves of books that probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Which is a pity, because I could really use the space for my LEGO collection.

   
*Well, not any of the actually comics titled Legion of Super-Heroes, because I have all those... I'm talking about the team's appearances in other books, like Adventure Comics). Totally my Kryptonite.

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THRICE 14.2

Posted on August 29th, 2015

Dave!Welcome to PART TWO of a discussion about the art that's running in the latest issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine!

If you haven't read PART ONE yet, you should do that first.

And if you haven't downloaded a FREE copy of our August 2015 issue... then you should definitely do that first because, WARNING... SPOILERS MAY ENSUE!

Thrice Fiction No. 14

After our last issue was released, I received a comment from a friend who said "I like how you do such a good job of including so many women writers and artists." This kind of took me by surprise, because this is not something that ever entered my head. When it comes to the artwork, the women in our pages are not here because they're women, they're here because they are amazingly talented artists who are kind enough donate their time and wonderful works. There was no conscious effort on my part to make this happen, it just kind of worked out this way. If you bring your A-game, show me terrific stuff, and know how to compliment a story with your art... I couldn't care less what restroom you use, what ethnicity box you check, who you love, what you believe, or where you're from. I mean, sure I'd care if you were into kicking puppies or something equally heinous. I wouldn't want to support a puppy-kicker. But if you have a respect for puppies and make me want to have your work in our magazine, I'll be ringing your doorbell. Actually, I wouldn't do that... that's kind of creepy. But I would send you an email asking if I can send you some stories to look over.

And I can't imagine that things would be any different on the editorial side of Thrice. What makes RW so good at his job is that he literally doesn't care about anything except what he's reading. He made this quite clear in our submission guidelines when he says "Cover letters are a matter of complete indifference to us. So is your bio. We don’t care who you are or what you’ve done or where you have been published. We're happy to just let the work speak for itself." And those are not just empty words... that encapsulates everything Thrice Fiction is about.

And now that that's out of the way... if you think you've got what it takes to appear in our pages... we want to hear from you!

No matter who you are.

   

And now... back to Issue No. 14, already in progress...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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