Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Mapblogging

A Cambridge-based company called SmartWorlds has developed a technology that will allow shoppers to compare prices and access reviews on cell phones and handhelds -- while still in a physical shop.

The free application, iShop, enables people to key in ISBN numbers and other information to refer to Amazon listings, order online, and email reports. Intriguingly, the idea -- according to a Jan. 1 Cambridge Chronicle piece by Mike Fisher -- stemmed from a museum-based application with which museum goers could learn more about sculptures and paintings. Future plans for service expansion include DVD and electronics commerce tie-ins. SmartWorlds has also partnered with Boston-based Trident Booksellers.

Those are the gimmies. Now if only I could tie iShop into Amazon's Wish List and my cell phone's global positioning for opt-in push-based alerts. One aspect of mapblogging down, many more to go.

[transmitted via sidekick hiptop.]

Seedy CD's

A recent bust on Central Square nabbed the New York-based owner of two shops not far from the Big Blue Couch for selling pirated CD's and DVD's. Tipped off by RIAA agents, two stores within minutes of where I live were charged: the coffee shop and convenience store near the bus stop on Church Corner (I believe) and a jewelry store owned by the same people near Starbucks.

[transmitted via sidekick hiptop.]

Technofetishism XLIX

I can now telnet to the Well from my Sidekick thanks to a neat new free app called Terminal Monkey! Happy new year, indeed. I know the Treo's all the rage, but I just might keep this pup a little longer.

[transmitted via sidekick hiptop.]

Workaday World XLIV

The following photos of where I've been working at the Atlantic aren't that interesting, but they help me test some new code Dan taught me.




What do you think? Borders or no borders?

New Year's Daze III

Happy new year to Media Dieticians everywhere! I hope the holidays were relaxing and refreshing. May 2K4 bring only the best in happiness, health, love, and good fortune. Today's my last day working at the Scotch & Sirloin building on the edge of the North End in Boston, and Friday, the truck arrives for my move to New York. I'll hit the city late Friday night, and the truck follows Saturday morning. I feel like I'm leaving a lot of loose ends in Boston, so I'm sure to come back, but as of Jan. 3, I officially live in New York. Onward and upward!

Book Wormhole

As I prepare to move to New York on Friday, I am increasingly dismayed by how many books I own. Is this the fate that awaits me? Buried under an avalanche of my own books, comics, magazines, and records? Firefighters removed 50 garbage bags of media detritus to save the man. Me, I'd want some say in what they threw away. But I guess that when you've been buried under your stuff for two days, you don't get a lot of input in the cleaning decisions.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Comics and Computers VI

IM'ing with my friend Dan just now, we created a couple of ASCII cartoon characters. I offer them to you as an open-source gift of sorts. I introduce to you: The Angry Couple.

#$%gVV is an angry man, head of the household. He wears a top hat and bowtie, and is almost always scowling.

8%g3 is an angry woman, the angry man's wife. She wears a ribbon in her hair and likes to wear dickies.

Here's a sample Angry Couple comic strip:

8%g3: I spend all day slaving over a hot stove

#$%gVV: Hoity-toit!

You are encouraged to make your own and email them to me -- or leave a comment with your ASCII comic creation.

Event-O-Dex XC

Saturday, Jan. 10: Metropolitan waxes urbane at the Mercury Lounge on East Houston in New York. (Yes, this is my first New York show listing. I guess that means the move is go.)

Monday, December 29, 2003

Magazine Me XLVI

Sunday's Chicago Tribune featured a new book about Cricket magazine. Published on the 30th anniversary of the children's literature periodical, the book considers the history and mission of the magazine -- and the review includes a nice collage of covers.

A subscription is required to access the Chicago Tribune online.

Music to My Ears LI

Shimon Rebibo, one of the people who helps manage the Scotch & Sirloin building, is starting a sound production company called ToneLotus. In addition to his own DJ'ing and electronic music, he's worked on ads for Arnold Worldwide and Volkswagen. If you work in advertising -- and you need original music -- try ToneLotus.

Magazine Me XLV

Jason Kottke's my kind of guy: "Starting the first week in January, I'm going to read a different magazine every week for the entire year." Wish I'd thought of that.

Scene and Heard

While the online version of Tom Lounges' Dec. 26 Local Scene column in the Times doesn't map with what ran in the paper, his "Say You Want a Resolution? Then, Stick to It" piece offers some music scene advice worth considering:

  • Show courtesy to your musical peers. Arrive early and stay late to show support for the other bands on the bill.
  • Stop being greedy with your fans. Encourage fans to experience other artists on the bill.
  • Date and marry people who understand your dedication to music.
  • Give a "baby band" a hand up.
  • Never date someone within your band. When romances end, usually so does the band.
  • Keep your sets fresh. If your set list gets stale, even die-hard fans will stop coming out.
  • Promote your band and your events.
  • Live up to your word and your handshake.
  • Think of music first, drinking last. Stop making your first statement, "How many drinks tickets do we get?"
  • Buy a watch and use it. Get to gigs on time. Start sets on time.
  • End sets on time. Don't cheat the next band of its time.

    The Anchormen used to joke that we put the "punk" in "puntuality," so I can really resonate with the last two items. And most of Lounges' resolutions also make a lot of sense. If you agree to a show, keep the commitment. There's no reason to duck out the week of a show -- and there's absolutely no reason not to show up at all, especially without calling ahead. I laughed a little at the keeping sets fresh comment -- you should always be writing new songs. At the last Anks show, we debuted a song we'd finished the night before -- and it might be our last show ever.

    And the first two are especially important. Don't just promote your band's time slot. Promote the other bands. Mention the other bands during your set. And for gosh sake, stick around for the entire show if at all possible. There's nothing worse than an opening band not sticking around after they play -- and there's really nothing worse than a band coming and going with all of its friends. If you want people to hang out and see you play, model that behavior: Hang out and see a band play. People who've seen your band perform will take notice.
  • Monday, December 22, 2003

    Working the Network

    I'd like a Media Dietician to introduce me to David Byrne for a project I'm working on. Any takers? Email me at the usual place, listed to the left. And thanks in advance! I promise not to abuse the privelege.

    'Tis the Season to Be... AWOL XVII

    Tomorrow, I head home for the holidays. That means that Media Diet may be quiet until I get back to Boston. That doesn't mean that Media Diet is dead (long live Media Diet!). It just means that it's resting. Worst case scenario: Media Diet will be back up and running Dec. 29 or so.

    May you and yours have the happiest of holidays.

    Pieces, Particles XIII

    The following stories spotted recently in print publications might be worth a look. Heads and decks, only. Heads and decks.

    Ad Reinhardt, Newspaper Cartoonist: The Abstract Double Agent by Richard B. Woodward, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2003

    A DVD Face-Off: The Official Vs. the Homemade by Emily Nussbaum, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2003
    In the age of participatory TV, why settle for the studio-approved commentary?

    For These Pioneers, It's One for the Road by Peter DeMarco, The Boston Globe, Dec. 21, 2003
    Trip is history, though unofficial

    Lost? Hiding? Your Cellphone Is Keeping Tabs by Amy Harmon, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2003

    On the Web, an Amateur Audience Creates Anti-Bush Ads by Phoebe Eaton, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2003
    A contest to create television commercials inspires 1,000 grass-roots directors.

    With History of Firsts, Duo Gunning to be Last by Donovan Slack, The Boston Globe, Dec. 20, 2003

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXV

    Chinatown
    I can't believe I haven't reviewed this movie for Media Diet yet. I've certainly watched the 1974 neo-noir enough. An awesome southern California story of incest, economic development, and backstabbing in the hardboiled Raymond Chandler mold. A young Jack Nicholson, cast as a wise-cracking private eye, stars opposite a languid Faye Dunaway. Water rights, boardroom politics, governmental nepotism, populist activism, and the occasional slugfest all add up to a dark, classic film. One of my favorites.

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    Read But Dead XXIII

    The Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square, only one of two stores dedicated to poetry in the United States, may have to close. If the owner doesn't raise the money she needs to pay the bills, the store could shut up shop as early as the end of January. Right now, Grolier is offering a 15% discount on all titles. Say, isn't Christmas just around the corner? Give the gift of poetry.

    Corollary: Event-O-Dex LXXXIX

    Friday, Dec. 19: The Anchormen, the Operators, Nice & Easy, and Asian Babe Alert join forces for a Handstand Command showcase at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. Tonight is the Anks' last show ever. Maybe.

    Update: We even rate a photo in the listings section of the Boston Phoenix this week.

    Rock Shows of Note LXXIX

    Last night, after practice with the Anchormen, Jef and I went to the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain for the Weekly Dig holiday party -- and a Big Digits show. Scarfing some free, but cold pizza, we hung out with Mac, TD, their new drummer -- who may debut at a show with Buffalo Tom at the Middle East in January -- Paul, and other friends. Around 10 p.m., Big Digits took the stage.

    This might be the best show I've seen them put on. TD, as hype guy, was all over the place, exacerbating a bad mic connection and at one point, taking a backward tumble into some stacked-up chairs. Mac was in fine form, delivering his rapid-fire and razor-sharp lyrics over the samples and beats he'd prepared. The two played about three new songs for the first time, and I was excited to hear more of the lyrics -- words about science fiction, database management, relationships gone awry, and more. "Traveling through Time" may be a favorite new song, with its dramatic and hammy chorus.

    I picked up a copy of their new CD, which sports cover art by one Ron Rege, Jr., and I look forward to their shows with live percussion. If they can actually incorporate live drumming into their stage show, it could be quite awesome indeed. Many of our friends left to hit the Q Division party, but Jef, being slightly ill, headed home -- as did I, to bed and rest.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    Workaday World XLIII

    Today's the last day I'll be working out of the Boston Fast Company offices located in the scenic Scotch & Sirloin building on the edge of the North End. For the next few weeks, I'll be camping out two floors up, crouching in a corner of The Atlantic until I move to New York. Tim has already begun tearing down the walls and other things he designed and built into the space, which the magazine has occupied since 1997. I was going to take pictures of all the empty work spaces to capture some images of emptiness and abandonment, but wouldn't you know it, the batteries in my camera are dead. We're all probably better off.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2003

    Band Name of the Day

    Cocoa Hot and the Swiss Mysteries

    From the In Box: Books Worth a Look XX

    In response to my earlier post about his most recent book, Cory Doctorow emailed me a 21,000 word story entitled "Human Readable" early this morning. Subject line: More didactic SF.

    I had to close loop with him to make sure I hadn't offended the man! Turns out that "0wnz0red," the story I described as "polemical," is the "most critically successful thing" Cory's ever written. Just goes to show what I know. Weakest link? Greatest thing.

    Take That, Big Apple IV

    This past weekend, a friend of a friend who runs a moving company came by my Magazine Street abode to give me an estimate on the move to Brooklyn. Today, I arranged the move-in date with my landlord on that end. Soon, I'll secure the street parking needed for the truck in Cambridge. The move is coming together!

    Update: You can even apply for a moving van permit in Cambridge online.

    Corollary: Workaday World XLII

    They may have taken the water cooler away, but I just learned that if you run the kitchen sink tap for a really long time, the water's almost as cold as ice water. The bigger issue, really, is the lack of on-site coffee. I got a large hazelnut with cream and sugar -- cake in a cup! -- from Dunkin' Donuts this morning, but since then, my caffeination has been little. Not sure I like that.

    It's an Ad, Ad, Ad, Ad World XXIX

    Peter Carlson, writing for the Washington Post, expresses appreciation for those little ads in the New Yorker.

    Monday, December 15, 2003

    Sites for Sore Eyes IV

    Glenn Gaslin is now contributing to a new groupblog called Big Action!. So far, entries touch on telekinesis, Disney, Santa Claus, and Battlestar Galactica. Plenty of popcult goodness for your frequent reading.

    And continuing the relocation trend, Matt has launched a new blog entitled Blue Room. Some choice quotelets: "I've got a head full of trademarks," "My brain hurts," "Marooned indoors," and "The founders of Kindercore records are suing their business partners."

    Indeed. "Your honor, then he called me twee." Objection!

    Workaday World XLII

    T-minus three to the closure of the Boston office of Fast Company. This morning, the refrigerator was taken away, and I just spied a guy removing the coffee machine. The sink is full of ice, and I'm left wondering: Wherever shall I get my coffee for the next three days? File under: You know your office is closing when...

    Books Worth a Look XX

    While watching the final installment of Angels in America on HBO last night, I finished reading Cory Doctorow's new collection of short stories, A Place So Foreign. Published in September by Four Walls Eight Windows, it collects nine stories originally published in magazines such as Science Fiction Age and On Spec between 1998 and 2002. In the interest of full disclosure, at one time, I'd hoped to acquire the collection for Highwater Books, but it didn't come together; I think Cory found a better home.

    Some of the book I'd read before -- "Craphound" and "The Super Man and the Bugout" -- but a lot of the stories were new to me and a wonderful corollary to Cory's novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. My favorites? "Craphound" because it held up over the course of five years and for its interstellar love of thrift sales and flea markets turned tale of true friendship. "All Day Sucker" for its new -- and perhaps more realistic -- take on computer-assisted memory and intelligence. "To Market, to Market: The Rebranding of Billy Bailey," a delightfully snarky approach to sales and marketing, shades of Tom Peters' Brand Called You and Naomi Klein's No Logo. And the closer, "The Super Man and the Bugout," for its lefty redux of the superhero icon.

    While the stories are what shine here, two other aspects come into play. One is how Cory's personality and interests emerge through the text -- he knows of which he writes, and his interest is that of a true fan and geek. The other is the value of his introductory snippets. I haven't read a book in quite awhile in which the author's notes explain where a story came from -- and further explain who the author is by way of the stories. We get a lot of solid, edge-riding science fiction in this collection, but we also get a lot of Cory: the collecting bug, his reading history, knapsack theory, his voracious appetite for information, Disney, his writing process, his parents political history, and his own activist politics.

    All that said, the story that hit me the weakest is also the most recent and political in the volume. Admittedly the first short story he wrote himself since he started work for the EFF, it's not as polemical as his current in-process work, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town -- which just hit a somewhat strident stride in recent email previews -- but occasionally, the social and political theory and practice underlying his thinking overshadows the narrative. I would encourage Cory not to drop the political and social messages, but perhaps to better weave them into his stories so they're more transparent -- and perhaps digestible. If recent segments of Someone Comes to Town are any indication, his future work may get bogged down in political exposition. In this collection, however, that is not the case.

    Get this book. Put it in your knapsack. Read it on the train.

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXIV

    Jesus' Son
    What an amazing sleeper of a film! When this came out in 1999, it didn't hit my radar at all, and with its cast, I'm surprised. Billy Crudup, Samantha Morton, Denis Leary, Jack Black, Dennis Hopper, and Holly Hunter all star to varying degrees in this adaptation of a cycle of interconnected short stories by Denis Johnson. Johnson himself cameos, and despite all the star wattage, no one actor steals the show. Jumping back and forth in time, largely because of the narrator and antihero's narrative forgetfulness, Jesus' Son is a story of love, loss, abuse, confusion, and yearning. Morton's character reminds me of a young Jodie Foster a la Taxi Driver, and her pairing with Crudup's antihero makes for a frustrating love story. As many personal problems as I may develop, I can't imagine coping with everything in the midst of drug addiction. Visually, the movie has several bright moments, including a scene in which Crudup's rounder follows a man who seems "lucky" to a laundromat and another in which he initially mistakes an abandoned drive-in theater for a cemetery. An extremely impressive movie directed by Alison Maclean. Almost all of the characters are wandering directionless, and even when they find an anchor -- Morton's Michelle or the Mennonite songstress -- they cast adrift again. Well worth renting!

    Sunday, December 14, 2003

    Workaday World XLI

    I'm in the office today, packing up seven years of office sediment to ship to the Fast Company offices in New York. I've also been separating out personal items and books to ship home -- and then to be moved to Brooklyn when I relocate early next year. The range of emotions I'm feeling today as I pack and get organized is interesting. Seven years is a long time to work somewhere, much less to be in the same office building.

    Now the wind is picking up outside as the sky darkens. Boston has yet to get the winter storm we've been warned about for the last few days, and I'm curious when the snow will start. Just before I left the house this morning, I got an email page that American forces had captured Saddam Hussein. Folks have already taken the TV from the office, so I missed Bush's address, but it struck me as I took the T into town that I wasn't really clear on why capturing Hussein was a goal.

    Didn't the military action start because of Sept. 11, Osama Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda? Isn't this action in Iraq a convenient spillover to make good on what Bush's father started when he was president? I suppose it's a good thing Hussein has been caught, but it's difficult for me to feel an upswell of patriotism or support for this. I sense no victory. And it'll be interesting to see how Bush uses this as his re-election campaign gears up. Will this be positive propaganda that bolsters Bush's case for the presidency? Or will new news come out in the wash, recontextualizing the capture as the days progress?

    OK, time to get back to packing. I'm almost done. Three more days in the office. Then, onward.

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    Event-O-Dex XC

    Saturday, Dec. 20: The third annual Bazaar Bizarre will take place at the Dilboy VFW in Davis Square in Somerville. Besides the stellar roundup of punk crafts vendors, the bazaar will also feature Sleazy Santa, Theremin Christmas carols performed by Jon Bernhardt, Punk Rock Mary Kay, Punk Rock Aerobics DJ'ing, as well as Jonny Heaven (Spoilsport), Arto Payaslian (Mishima USA), and Emily Arkin (The Operators) -- and more! Shop 'til you drop.

    Monday, December 08, 2003

    Nervy, Pervy XXII

    It's probably for the best, but the Anchormen didn't make the cut as a finalist for the February Suicide Girls show in Boss Town. You can check out the finalists -- and vote for your favorite -- online. Best of luck to Arrifaux, Harris, and Tragedie Ann.

    From the Reading Pile XXIV

    I am now a contributor to Zine World again. Materials can be sent for consideration to the address to the left. Here are the reviews I've submitted for the forthcoming issue of the reader's guide to the underground press.

    Aprendiz #2: The True Story of a N.Y. Tattoo Apprentice.
    Not every painter or cartoonist can be a tattoo artist, and not every tattoo artist can self-publish a comic book as awesome as this. Adam's art reminds me of a streetwise Jim Mahfood crossed with the psychedelia of Andy Ristaino, and his panel design is amazing. The comic details the terms-and tribulations-of his apprenticeship, his co-workers, how the job affects his personal life, and dealing with customers who are a "little flipped." Quite impressive. Adam Suerte, 335 Court St. #16, Brooklyn, NY 11231. [$3.95 US 28M :10]

    Dwelling Portably (May 2003).
    Published since 1980, this old-school typewritten zine focuses on shared, mobile, improvised, underground, hidden, and floating living quarters. This issue addresses cook stoves, water sterilization, improvised toilet paper, dental care, Chicago, and retrofitting truck trailers and vans. Comprising how-to tips and tactics submitted by readers, the folksy zine also includes a handful of news clippings, primarily from the Pacific Northwest. Also includes a two-page review roundup and back issue index for May 1999 to December 2000. P.O. Box 190-D, Philomath, OR 97370. [$1 16S :16]

    Film Geek #9 (Winter/Spring 2003).
    Almost a year in the making, this issue of the B-movie fanzine runs hot and cold. Despite a rambling editorial, strung-together article on movies made in New Jersey, and a questionable conspiracy theory about fascist propaganda in "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger," several articles impress. Billy Anderson's appreciation of the Colonial Theatre, Robert Freese's comprehensive look at disaster movies, and the seven pages of movie reviews make me want to track down lost landmarks and redo my Netflix queue. Alan Fare, P.O. Box 501113, Tulsa, OK 74150, . [$1 28S :15]

    Lucky #2.5.
    Drawn in a more realistic style a la Jessica Abel by way of Jordan Crane and Dave Kiersh, Gabrielle's new series of minis is also more realistic in its narrative and verbose in its dialogue. The main character, ostensibly Gabrielle, loses a sketchbook before boarding a plane, takes in some art, vacations with friends, sells comics on the street, and takes an impromptu yoga class. The pacing is excellent and the overall tone is gently bittersweet. Gabrielle Bell. [$3 US 36M :16]

    The Nightmares of the Pawn #1-2.
    While the small typeface and photocopied cut-and-paste collage nature of this zine poses a challenge to reading, there's some fine personal, poetic, and political writing in this example of small-town self-discovery. Jeremy touches on road construction, wage slavery, freedom, misleading memories, half-hearted holidays, self-improvement, suburbia, love, agism, patriotism, televangelism, and creativity. The addition of short fiction and a resource directory broaden the zine's scope, but I'd like to read Jeremy's political prose poems without the cluttered layout. Jeremy, N16343 Old Highway 13, Butternut, WI 54514. [$1.15 US, or trade, free to prisoners, 24XS :10]

    Paper Rad: Wish You Were Here (2002).
    Having just read the Comics Journal's package on the Fort Thunder arts community in Rhode Island, this post-Thunder collective comic is an appropriate read. Printed on multicolored paper, this anthology featuring Leif Goldberg, Ben Jones, P. Shaw, and Jim Drain-and perhaps others-touches on education, computers, trolls, robots, Garfield, musical dogs, pirates, and P. Shaw's cast of characters. The book, thicker than many Paper Rad editions, is a good introduction to the cute brut school of cartoonists. Paper Radio, P.O. Box 913, Providence, RI 02901. [$5 82M :20]

    Rabid Transit: A Mischief of Rats.
    The Ratbastards are a collective of writers specializing in what some term interstitial or slipstream fiction, or fabulation. Launched at Wiscon, this five-story chapbook includes work by Victoria Elizabeth Garcia, David J. Hoffman-Dachelet, Douglas Lain, Nick Mamatas, and Haddayr Copley-Woods. The latter three stand out, with ex-Soft Skull Press staffer Mamatas' blogosphere redux of Joan of Arc and Copley-Woods fragmenting perspective of statues and stone shining as most notable. Velocity Press, P.O. Box 28701, St. Paul, MN 55128. [$5.50 US, $6 Canada/Mexico, $6.50 elsewhere 56S :36]

    Travel Report SPZ-24K10: Southeast Asia and Japan (Winter 2001-2002).
    Marchette and Frank are active in the Monday Adventure Club, which celebrates the four-day work week by exploring the world. This zine collects the couple's email missives from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Japan, , as well as a CD-R of video footage. The writing, aimed at friends, tends toward the chatty narrative rather than the descriptive or informative, but the zine features several highlights: fables about mountains, meeting author Oum Sophany, a gay mall, and the story of Nang Nak. Citizens of Xee, P.O. Box 45636, Seattle, WA 98145. [$3 US/Canada/Mexico, $5 elsewhere, or trade 44M+CD-R :31]

    Friday, December 05, 2003

    Workaday World XL

    It's snowing in New York, and there's a winter storm watch in effect for Boston -- we're supposed to get six inches of the flaky white stuff overnight, perhaps. Just now, coming back into the building, I saw a man sprawled out on the concrete in front of the lobby. He'd taken a spill and was covered with blankets. People gathered around him, and coming sirens announced that medical help was on its way. It looked like he'd split his head open, as a thin pool of blood spread slowly on the concrete. Scary stuff. If it's snowing where you are, be careful.

    Thursday, December 04, 2003

    Nervy, Pervy XXI

    If you're an NYU film student and you'd like to pursue a project with erotic undertones -- or overtones, for that matter -- be sure to keep the sex R-rated. A student interested in filming a live sex act in front of classmates was told to remain tame. While the university contends that it has long had an unwritten policy requiring student films to follow industry standards, the Washington Square News criticizes the action in light of no documented guidelines.

    I can understand the concern with staging the sex act in front of a class, but I wonder: Had the student wanted to film the project elsewhere -- still turning it in for class -- would this hubbub have happened? Regardless of your stance on free speech, artistic development, and public-private behavior, public copulation is still public copulation. And there are laws against that, aren't there?

    Pulling the Plug XII

    According to the New York Daily News, the historic Greenwich Village cabaret, the Bottom Line, has been ordered to shut down. For about 30 years, the night spot has featured such musicians as Dr. John, Bruce Springsteen, and Christine Lavin. Now the club owners have been required to shut up shop. Their landlord, New York University, wanted to raise their monthly rent from $11,250 to $27,000 -- and has sued for almost $200,000 in back rent.

    Tuesday, December 02, 2003

    Environmentally Challenged

    New York City, of all cities in the United States, should have a solid recycling program. But it doesn't. Not only did Mayor Michael Bloomberg suspend plastic and glass recycling for up to two years in 2002, even though paper and metal recycling is supposed to continue, my new workspace in the New York office doesn't come complete with a recyling bin.

    The New York Post reports that the interruption in service hasn't been a success financially -- and now that plastic recycling has started again, the city is beginning to enforce the laws somewhat.

    So, if paper recycling never ended, shouldn't my cube have a recycling bin? Paper-intensive offices should recycle that paper.

    Monday, December 01, 2003

    Event-O-Dex LXXXIX

    Friday, Dec. 12: A Very Special Scrapple Midnite X-Mas show featuring multimedia wunderkind Travers will celebrate the holidays at the Coolidge Corner in Brookline. Special guests include Cathy Cathodic, as well as members of Neptune, Devil Music, and Plunge into Death.

    Friday, Dec. 19: The Anchormen, the Operators, and Asian Babe Alert host a Handstand Command showcase at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. This will be the Anks' last show ever. Maybe.

    Friday, November 28, 2003

    Wednesday, November 26, 2003

    Humor Me XI

    Newspaper publishing trade magazine Editor & Publisher recently considered the success of The Onion. Seth Porges considers the brand's extensions, forthcoming premium (read: paid) content online, and the publication's history -- go, Badgers!

    When media humor brands such as The National Lampoon and Mad continue to falter and flail, it's good to see the Onion continue to grow like kudzu.

    Virtual Book Tour 3

    I didn't participate in the Virtual Book Tour this go, and I missed mentioning it while it was underway.

    If you missed it, too, and would like to catch up, see what Meg Hourihan, Christine Selleck, Josh Greenberg, James McNally, Geoffrey Long, Shannon Okey, Matt Haughey, and Heather Champ have to say about Ethan Watters' book, Urban Tribes.

    There, just a week-plus after the fact. Such are these days.

    Read But Dead XXII

    Vanguarde Media, publisher of Savoy, Honey, and Heart & Soul, has folded.

    Thanks to Romenesko's Media News.

    Subway Soundtrack V

    The MBTA has delayed plans to crack down on and restrict buskers performing on the city's public transportation platforms. Citing security concerns, the MBTA intends to limit live subway music to acoustic instruments -- no amplifiers, no drums, no brass, and no woodwinds. Additionally, the plans call for buskers to be "neat in appearance," wear photo ID, and pay $25 for an annual performance permit.

    Joe Pesaturo, the MBTA spokesman, has said that the musicians drown out the public address system and that "if people can't hear those messages, then we have a problem." Critics of the new rules countered that no one can understand the messages, which at times are muffled and distorted, even when musicians aren't playing.


    It's true. I think the solution to the problem, if there is a problem, is to ensure that the MBTA's PA system works well first. I can never understand what the agents are saying when the system is used, and it's not because of buskers. The speakers sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons even when a station is dead silent. Musicians such as Tracy Chapman who got their start in the subway are speaking up against the proposal. As did Roland Tumble last night at Park Street. Tumble's one of my favorite performers, and if the plan goes into effect, I'll miss his grouchiness and beautiful blues guitar.

    Games People Play XIV

    While in New York last weekend, I went to a GameStop with Steve so he could sell some used Gamecube games and pick up the new Rogue Commander. While there, I picked up a couple of used games for my Playstation -- yeah, I'm a bit slow on the uptake for consoles. In any event, I snagged an Atari Classics, which features Tempest, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. And for the last two nights, I've played video games until my hands hurt.

    While the Atari games are a bit awkward to play using the standard Playstation controller, I've been enjoying being Bam Margera. But, just as when I got into Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, I'm all about the cheats. Thanks to Cheatstop, Ace Cheats, and Game Winners, Bam now has perfect balance, is always "on," and bleeds when he falls. What fun!

    I still can't find the secret tape in the Foundry though. But I think I know where it is.

    Read But Dead XXI

    Just in time for my move to New York City, long-running zine store See Hear is shutting up shop. While I used to love going to the St. Mark's icon and dropping mad cash on zines, comics, and underground newspapers, proprietor Ted Gottfried has almost always been plagued by complaints in the zine community. Doesn't accept their zines, people say. And if he does, he never pays them their consignment, they add. I'll miss See Hear -- we need more zine stores and infoshops -- but I guess this means that the folks who have money coming to them will never get it now.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2003

    Books Worth a Look XIX

    Instead of catching up on reviews of the books I've read since June, I'm going to change my book-review policy. As editor of Media Diet, I can do that. No longer shall I review every single book I read, publishing review roundups every month. From now on, I shall only review books I really think beg mention -- perhaps bundling like-themed books in topical reviews, as I am about to do today. Of course, I might change the policy again in the future, but I think it's safe to say I'm not going to grandfather in the books I read in July, August, September, October, and November any time soon. Better to look ahead than behind and all that. Without further ado, the new-school approach to book reviews:

    Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Raw Junior, 2003)
    I cannot compare this volume to its two predecessors -- Little Lit and Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids -- because I haven't read them. In fact, I've totally ignored and dismissed them. Why? One, children's books are expensive and pretentious enough without donning the mantle of a postmodern comic book. Two, most comics are childish enough; there's no need to resort to children's book trappings to tap into the youth market. Yet, considering Little Lit III in the light of Spiegelman's adaptation of Joseph Moncure's Wild Party and Peter Kuper's redux of The Metamorphosis (reviewed below), perhaps this is another way for comic books to enter the book trade. The roundup of creators clearly indicates such: Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, J. Otto Siebold, and Spiegelman hisself. Regardless, when I can buy a Siebold softcover for $6.99 (20 pages) or an issue of Tom Strong for $2.99 (36 pages), the economics of this book ($19.99 for 50 pages), parenting, and the children's book market strike me as most mercenary. The Snicket and Richard Salas pairing, however, bodes well for the read. Salas' dark yet dainty artwork, paired with Snicket's intelligent morality tale (there are two lessons in this nine-page piece) work quite well together. It may even be arguable that Snicket nudges Michael Chabon out of the slot reserved for the first postmodern fiction author to script a comic book (Chabon penned a piece for JSA All Stars #7 in January). The offering by Siebold and Vivian Walsh is their basic fare, only shorter and with more word balloons (add another moral lesson). William Joyce shines with his Winsor McCay-meets-R. Sikoryak bit of visual fabulism. The four-page Basil Wolverton reprint is a nice touch, Joost Swarte is beautiful in such a large format, Patrick McDonnell stretches himself slightly, and Barbara McClintock and R. Sikoryak add nice puzzle parts (Yum! Interactive books!). All in all, not a bad read. Still, children don't need children's books-cum-comics to get into comics, and the adult comic as children's book reeks as postmodern pretense. Like Dan Zanes' children's records, are they for you -- or your children? Better to buy your child a proper kids' book -- or an edition of Blab, Raw, or (harf!) Taboo.

    The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, adapted by Peter Kuper (Crown, 2003)
    I had my doubts about this hardcover graphic novel, novella, novellette, or short story -- whatever -- and I'm still not sure whether I'd rather read Kafka's original text illustrated by Kuper or this comic adaptation. Regardless, Kuper, cofounder of World War III magazine and Atonio Prohias' successor as artist-writer for Mad's Spy Vs. Spy, adds some refreshing aspects to the existential tale even if he doesn't totally improve on it. Opening with an introduction in which Kuper pairs Kafka's turn-of-the-century considerations with Winsor McCay's Sunday funny-page surrealism, the book retells the story of a traveling salesman turned dung beetle -- and his family's reaction. Largely a story of economic survival, as well as existential angst, the book includes several pleasant cartoony moments, including the Richard Salas-esque p. 44; nice Robert Crumb nods on pp. 65, 66, and 75 (keep on truckin'!); and some pleasing panel placement on pp. 27, 48, 49, 58, 70, and 72 (not to mention the typography on p. 42). While I'm not sure the tome rates its pricy format ($18 for 80 pages), it's substantially better than most new-schol Classics Illustrated fare. For Kafka completists, Kuper fans, and adult comic readers who seek a gateway to literature. If you haven't read Kafka's original story recently, do so -- now. Just as I did William Hope Hodgson's House on the Borderland after reading Richard Corben's adaptation.

    Nervy, Pervy XX

    Wait, Ben Brown is now fiction editor for Suicide Girls? Cool beans.

    Double wait, Ben also has interns? And so does Justin Hall? Methinks Media Diet should have an intern. OK, so who wants a banana?

    Monday, November 24, 2003

    Take That, Big Apple III

    So this past weekend was the start of my big hunt for housing in New York City. I flew down Friday morning to work out of the New York office of Fast Company. That morning I was concerned about weather because it was cold and raining in Boston. Once we hit 10,000 feet, the plane broke through the clouds and into sharp sun, and the front that was moving over Boston fizzled to clear and clean on our way south to New York.

    I went down Friday instead of Saturday, as per my original plan, to participate in Friday Fun, an afternoon team screening of Shattered Glass. After the movie, we repaired to a nearby bar south of Houston, the very bar in which Jeff Smith, the creator of Bone, bought me a beer early this summer.

    As the night progressed and people began to head home, Jenn and I headed to the subway to go back uptown toward the office. She was to meet up with her boyo and some friends, and I had to get back inside the building to snag my suitcase and laptop before heading to Ryan's sublet on the upper west side to crash for the night. Even though I'd gotten a magnetic key card to the floor we're on, I was a little nervous that I'd get hassled by security. But because I was still on the guest list for the day, I got in no worries. And that meant that I got to Ryan's place, ate, and hit the hay in good season. Phew! I'd pictured myself wandering the streets without a change of clothes -- and my laptop out of reach. Yikes.

    Saturday morning, I got up and surfed the subway by 9:15 in order to find my way to Brooklyn in time for my first appointment. Despite one misstep once I was across the river -- I got confused once I got off the 7 and onto the G -- I made it to Greenpoint in good time. A quick walk down Manhattan to Nassau -- call that misstep No. 2, as I could have stayed on the G one more stop to Nassau -- and I was at the realtor's office, just as she was arriving to open up. I did some initial paperwork, we discussed what I was looking for again, and off we went in her car, her smoking a cigarette and me clutching my bag to my chest. (She wasn't the most attentive of drivers.)

    Most of the apartments she showed me, while in my price range, weren't even close to what I was looking for location wise or quality of living wise -- one place even included a refrigerator stocked with a stick of butter, mold spots, and a sickening stench -- but I did like one place not far from the Cooper Projects (one of hip hop's earliest wellsprings), so near the end of our time together, I asked her to take me back so I could keep it firmly in mind during my later appointments. Then she remembered another spot -- did I want to see it? Of course. So off we went.

    Now, I don't know why she didn't think of it sooner, and I'm amused that I almost didn't even know it existed, but the place is amazing. Five blocks from the G train. Nice building. On the edge of a park. Has a view of the Manhattan skyline from the kitchen. Sports a sunny yellow kitchen. The bathroom is bright blue. There's a neat glass dividing wall between the kitchen and living room that looks like an ice cube staircase (Pengo, anyone?). Reasonable rent. And it includes ample space for books. Wow. Perfect. But do I decide now or keep looking at other places with other people?

    I chose the latter because my next appointment was all of two blocks away. The third floor of a house owned and lived in by the landlord and his family. He's super cool. Manages the grocery store around the corner. Ample space. New kitchen and bath. An office off the bathroom. And a totally flexible living situation: no fee, no security deposit, no lease. Month to month; he just wants a long-term tenant he likes and trusts. Double wow. What to choose? I knew that I didn't want to keep looking at places lest one of these go away. I also knew that I needed to get some finances sorted before I could actually seal either deal. So I went back to stand on a street corner near the realtor's to think.

    It was there that she, the realtor, saw me. "What are you doing?" she said. "I'm thinking," I replied. "And I think I'd like to look at that last place again. Can I see it?" She couldn't show me because she was off in her car to another appointment, but she took me back to the office so someone else could show me. I still liked it, I wanted it, and I still needed to get my money house in order. We went back to the realtor, I chatted with the owner, and he agreed to let me go to a bank to get settled and return to get things sorted. (He also agreed to let me pay by personal check instead of cashier's check or money order, which was awesome.)

    Off to the bank I went. The first realtor I met had said there was a Fleet near the Graham stop on the L line. Not only was the L line not running -- I already knew that because another realtor had called earlier in the day to warn me -- but there wasn't a Fleet in sight once I got to Graham. So I walked and walked and finally found a bank ATM I could use to make the transfer. That done, I called my later afternoon appointment to cancel, headed back to the train -- and Greenpoint. (At this point, I was in Williamsburg.) Still thinking, tormented, I called the home owner and the realtor to ask how big the apartments were square foot-wise. Turned out the place with the view of the skyline wasn't smaller (one of my concerns), so I headed to the park to sit and make my usual pro-con lists.

    Ben Franklin made pro-con lists. And so do I. I sat in the park, considered the floorplans I'd drawn of the two apartments, made my pro-con lists and mulled. Mull, mull, mull. Like cider. Then it was decided. View of the skyline and ice cube kitchen it was. Back to the realtor, paperwork filled out, checks written, receipts gotten, lease and rider read and signed. Done. Just now, I called the realtor to see how my credit check turned out -- good, good -- and I can expect the lease to be finalized by the end of the week.

    Looks like I have a new place to hang my hat -- in Brooklyn, not Brookline. Not that I live in Brookline now, mind you, but, you know. As Strecker says, "Words, words, words." Now that I've got a foot in both cities, my stride stretches more than 200 miles. Harf!

    Rock Shows of Note LXXVIII

    Because of my trip to New York, I missed almost all of the International Pop Overthrow power-pop festival this past week. But I did get home in time to drop off my luggage, call my parents, and head over to T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge for the event's final evening last night. I arrived just in time to catch the last few songs by School for the Dead, a clever and catchy foursome from Northampton. Their third to last song featured some awesome vocal harmony breakdowns, and the last tunes, including the wonderful "Omnivore," an ode to vegetarianism, made me wish I'd gotten home sooner. I'll have to listen to more.

    Then, Fooled by April, which made the claim of being the headlining act for the entire series. Harf! Their front man reminded me of the elder Hanson brother, and their guitarist -- by far the most fun member to watch -- looked like one half of Junior Senior. More tuneful in their power pop, the band performed well but had neither the edge nore the friendly humor of School for the Dead. I'd wager they take themselves more seriously, too. Kudos to Andrea and everyone else involved in bringing the IPO to Boston. Or the Boston area. It's local shows like this that I'll miss once I move.

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXIII

    Playing catch up on a week-plus or so:

    The Devil Commands
    In this hour-long 1941 yawner, Boris Karloff plays a scientist who discovers that radio waves can transmit the thoughts and voices of dead people. When his wife dies, his experimentation turns to the macabre -- well, more macabre -- as he and a dimwitted assistant (the Igor to Karloff's Dr. Julian Blair) unearth corpses to power some sort of radio from beyond. Modeled after a medium's session in which people sit around a table and link hands, the transmitter is created when corpses are capped with a monitor helmet of Blair's own making. There's a nice scene in which Blair debunks a medium a la Harry Houdini, but -- just like Houdini -- Blair enlists her in his efforts to reach out to his wife beyond the veil. For the most part, the movie is light on shock or suspense, but the final scene in which the transmitter goes out of control, Blair's wife's voice is the strongest, and the lab is disturbed by a supernatural tempest is well worth building up to. Fine for fans of Karloff, Houdini, and radio. Rather dull otherwise.

    American Graffiti
    "Where were you in '62?" I was -11 years old, as George Lucas' early work was initially released in 1973. It's a fine film, sort of a '70s-style Dazed & Confused as a circle of high school friends contemplate their next steps following graduation. Richard Dreyfuss' character develops the most as he wrestles with staying at home instead of going to school -- even getting entangled in the Pharoahs, a cartoony gang of hoodlums. Ron Howard and Cindy Williams -- fancy that -- play a cute couple debating breaking up as Howard's character plans to go to school and date other people to prove their love. Even featuring a drag race scene, the movie is a redux of, oh, so many JD films of the '50s and '60s. Good boy goes bad. Nerd becomes lover. Hard-hearted hotrod hunk goes gentle. And in the end, everyone gets theirs. Even a surprisingly cast Harrison Ford. Did this role get him Star Wars? Go figure. Oh, also look for a nice cameo by Wolfman Jack, the mysterious voice behind the voiceover radio show -- and resulting top-40 soundtrack. Weird, another radio movie. Is this a trend?

    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
    It's made in 1963. It's cast sports such comedy luminaries as Spencer Tracy, Milton Bearle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Stan Freberg, Jimmy Durante, Don Knotts, and Buster Keaton. How can it feel so freaking long at almost three hours? And how can it be so dreadfully unfunny? What a wash! I had such high hopes for this movie, and I had to watch it in two sittings I got so bored and distracted. A shame, really, as the plot's not too bad for the time. A bunch of random people learn of a buried treasure at the same time and then race to discover it themselves -- kind of like Rat Race, which I haven't seen. But for the most part, this movie is dismissable. That said, I did thoroughly enjoy the beach movie-inspired scene in which Dick Shawn and Barrie Chase exhibit some of the most uncomfortable and disturbing go-go dancing I've ever seen. Rent the DVD for that scene alone. While Jack Davis did draw the poster for the movie, this is not a Mad magazine film. That would be Up the Academy, which was so bad, Mad pulled all mentions of its involvement before release.

    Shattered Glass
    Huh. The Fast Company editorial team went to watch this as a group Friday afternoon because it's a journalism movie. And even though I work in journalism and fall easy prey to films featuring editors, reporters, writers, newspapers, and magazine -- go figure -- I don't think this is a very good movie. It's certainly not a very good journalism movie. The writers and directors don't dig very deep into Stephen Glass' psychosis, and the narrative basically retells his tale and little else. What I liked: Steve Zahn as Forbes.com's Adam Penenberg, who first uncovered Glass' fabrications; Hank Azaria as Michael Kelly, even if he looked nothing like him; the editorial meeting scenes in which Glass pitched his pieces; and the sequence in which Hayden Christensen's Glass asked Peter Sarsgaard's Chuck Lane -- then editor of the New Republic -- for a ride to the airport after he'd been fired. I would have liked more exploration of Glass' inner workings, particularly given his romanticization of high-profile, high-minded, and high-impact journalism. Yet despite that romanticization, he focused on producing a product of high quality while ignoring the process entirely. For a "full" list of Glass' fabrications, check out Rick McGinnis' Tissue of Lies. He even includes the fake Web site Glass created for Jukt Micronics.

    The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XXVII

    While in New York City over the weekend to hunt for housing, I ate at a couple of interesting restaurants. Friday night, after stowing my possessions at a colleague's sublet on the upper west side, I hit City Diner, a 24-hour eatery, around 10 p.m. Nothing fancy, it's your basic all-day diner. I ordered the corned beef reuben with fries and a Corona. The sandwich was served open face, which always irritates me. "It's not a sandwich!" But the food was good and the people watching fun. Besides they have a $2 fried egg sandwich, so if the early-morning or late-night munchies hit you -- and you live in the area -- it's a quick stop for sustenance. $2 fried egg sandwich. Yum.

    Saturday night, my friend Steve, who writes for the New York Post, and I headed to Gabriela's at 93rd and Amsterdam. Neither of us had eaten much all day -- me, only coffee -- so we were looking forward to some solid Mexican food. And we weren't disappointed. I ordered the chicken burrito, which was well prepared and not overly large. The entrees come with your choice of sides, but if you select beans and rice, it doesn't really feel like a side dish at all. Regardless, good food, pleasant atmosphere, and attentive staff. Worth checking out.

    And last night, before catching my flight back to Boston, Steve and I walked to a high-end grocery nearby. Called something like Zapato's or Zapata's -- my googling isn't finding anything applicable -- it's reportedly always crowded and has a load of gourmet food and fine produce. We picked up some cheese, bread, prosciuto, garlicked olives, and cheese-filled gnocchi. Back at the ranch, we prepared some plates, mixed martinis, and settled in for a quiet urban picnic. Then it was back on the street, in a cab, and on the plane home.

    Update: But how were the pickles? Glad you asked. I didn't have a pickle at Gabriela's, but the pickle at the City Diner was no great shake. The Search for the Perfect Pickle continues.

    Music to My Ears L

    Let Them Sing It for You is a nifty Web app that allows you to type in lyrics -- and then stitches together an audio piece that features different singers and musical groups singing the lines for you. If the system can't find a word you entered, it encourages you to help it find an example that it can add to the audio dictionary. Fun stuff, shades of NAG and Eigenradio.

    Thanks to Memepool.

    Friday, November 21, 2003

    Workaday World XXXIX

    While standing in front of the office in New York this afternoon, I saw a man walking down the street singing "Rasperry Beret" to himself, not at all softly.

    Technoforgetfulness II

    I found my Palm V at home last night. Like a lost dog, it had found its way home to my place on Magazine Street and was resting contentedly on the Big Blue Couch when I got home last night.

    Thursday, November 20, 2003

    Technoforgetfulness

    A couple of nights ago, while shutting down and preparing to leave work, I removed my Palm V from its dock. Where it went next is totally open to conjecture. I can't find it. Anywhere. Where, oh, where has my little Palm gone?

    Event-O-Dex LXXXVII

    Thursday, Nov. 20: The Operators, Choo Choo la Rouge, and the Fightin' Dogs kick out the jams at P.A.'s Lounge in Somerville.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2003

    Event-O-Dex LXXXVI

    Saturday, Nov. 22: Nice & Easy, Secret Cock, and Plunge Into Death hold down the fort at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain while I hunt for housing in New York. Sad to miss Nice & Easy's debut, as the band features members of the Tardy, the Operators, and Spoilsport.

    Music to My Ears XLIX

    The new episode of Well-Rounded Radio is now available. The Fall 2003 edition features music and conversation with Josh Ritter, Francine, and the Burnside Project. Kudos, Charlie!

    Tuesday, November 18, 2003

    Humor Me X

    Fucked Company reports that National Lampoon laid off its writers (again!), who are now pimping their pen skills on eBay. How many times can one magazine fold, relaunch, and fold again?

    Monday, November 17, 2003

    Event-O-Dex LXXXV

    Wednesday, Nov. 19, to Sunday, Nov. 23: The International Pop Overthrow festival throws down at T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge.

    Mention Me! XLVIII

    My coworker Rob just took this candid snap of me with his new Sony Ericsson T-610 camera phone.



    Pretty neat, eh?

    Take That, Big Apple II

    My great Hunt for Housing has begun. I've called a broker in Brooklyn, emailed someone who'd posted several listings on Craig's List, and posted my own listing on Craig's List. If any Media Dieticians can offer Craig's List tips, I'd sure appreciate it. And if you know anyone who might have apartments up my alley, feel free to share the listing with them. Fingers crossed that I'll be heading down this weekend to start looking at places.

    Update: Within several hours, my Craig's List post had attracted two emails, one with a followup phone call. Looks like I'll definitely be going down Saturday and Sunday to look at places, perhaps including one in a house shared by the owner. Now, which friend to crash with?

    Event-O-Dex LXXXIV

    Tuesday, Nov. 18: Burning Star Core, Jason Talbot, Brendan Murray, and Mike Shiflet make some noise at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge. Burning Star Core features C. Spencer Yeh, a long-time tape trader from Chicago.

    Friday, November 14, 2003

    From the Reading Pile XXIII

    Catfight Part One (September 2003)
    A stark contrast to MK Reed's abyssmal attempt at an ashcan with Zombie Hunters in Space, this is a more full-fledged foray into simply drawn storytelling. Featuring a trio of women interested in sports, music, cigarettes, and social interaction, the 36-page comic sports some nice Ariel Schrag-like scripting moments, as well as some absolutely artistic moments (panel seven, p. 10). The directional detour on p. 12 was well "written," as well. While the "hells yeah" got tiring, the Rodney Schroeter-esque badminton bash up on p. 15 is quite funny, as is the lunchtime inquisition. Reed stretches a little with panel four, p. 19 -- in the awkward anatomy plus Jessica Abel allusion sense -- but all in all, the comic is a nice pre-college pretense, particularly given the anti-boyfriend screed on p. 23 and the Syracuse reference in Zombie Hunters in Space. The accelerated relationship sequence on p. 25 and the distant detail of pp. 26-27 show some solid storytelling skills not included elsewhere, and the ending, while open-ended, left me wanting more. For 23, MK's not too bad. I look forward to more. Write MK Reed for more information.

    Don't Leave Home
    Joining Shawn Cheng at Partyka, Sara Edward-Corbett's 24-page cloth-covered comic is an oddly bound exhibit of a romantic pentangle. Combining the styles of Tony Millionaire, John Hankiewicz, and Greg Cook, the creator leaves a love-lorn look at youthful insolence and pessimism. The second story is a folkloric frolic involving anthropomorphic accoutrements, with the overeager shoe breaking the insecure straw. That shoe's laces are the most expressive I've ever seen! Kudos! Write Sara Edward-Corbett for more information.

    Forlorn Funnies #5 ashcan
    As a promotion for the 80-page issue due in October, this 16-page pamphlet is a terrible tease. Even the production values -- the paper stock and vivid color -- makes me want the complete edition. Understandable, but unforgivable. Including reviews of previous issues, a description of the upcoming volume, and excerpts from several of the stories, the mini addresses race relations, robots, and rationalization. Paul Hornschemeier is brilliant. More, please. Free from Absence of Ink, P.O. Box 875, Lincoln, CA 95648.

    Gabagool! #4-5 (May and September 2003)
    Leaving behind the digest-sized photocopied minicomics of last year for 28-page "properly" printed comics, Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke slow down the pace much too much. The comedy is all in the timing, and now that Radtke's writing for the longer form, their humor is half-baked. After Christopher Vigliotti gets laid off from his dead-end dotcom job, he and his roomies heroically take some time off in "Hedonism," Jamaica. Incorporating some interesting Terry Laban-influenced artwork, Dawson pens some pleasant panels involving hair removal, role-playing games, and vacation vocations. I miss the sitcom-smart silliness and whip-witted whackiness of previous issues. Please don't sacrifice the silly bits for the Joe Sacco-inspired seriousness sussed out by tangible travel. $3 from Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke, P.O. Box 1638, Radio City Station, New York, NY 10019.

    Where Are You Going (August 2003)
    Signed and sealed at the point of purchase, Lark Pien's 44-page book one the Mr. Boombha series is a hand-bound collection of six stories. Mr. Boombha wakes, observes his morning constitutional, and proceeds to visit his friend Flowe. Mixing characteristics of Greg Cook, Bil Keane, and Larry Marder, Pien portrays Boombha's day, which is full of playful math, gentle jealousy, and wanton waiting. Then Boombha goes on a trip to Down Under. With work in eight other published comics, Pien's one to watch. Write Lark Pien, 4016 Opal St. #1, Oakland, CA 94609 for more information.

    Zombie Hunters in Space
    In addition to an introductory essay outlining the author's seven biases for MK Reed's scribbly comic strip, this eight-page photocopied catchall comprises several examples of the comic. For the most part, it addresses loneliness, robots, technical writing, the creator's artistic process, and card games. Lesson: If you don't have a full-fledged comic to bring to SPX, don't bring a comic to SPX. Who the heck is Matt Finley? Write MK Reed for more information.

    From the In Box: Clothes Whore IX

    Good man -- almost gave up on you! -- Sarah Chauncey

    Thursday, November 13, 2003

    Daily Dosage III

    Neal Pollack has stopped blogging. Like Dan Pink and William Gibson before him, the media personality reaffirms that stopping is the new starting.

    Comics and Community XIX

    Wow. I published my first proper zine when I was 15 years old -- in 1988, when I published the first issue of No Drama, inspired by an issue of Maximum Rocknroll. My friend Brad claims earlier independent media cred by at least four years: He started publishing his comics fanzine The Friendly Neighborhood Comic Paper in 1984. I am in awe.

    Clothes Whore IX

    Back in June, Sarah Chauncey of Information Connections sent me a T-shirt in response to the open invitation that if a Media Dietician sends me a T-shirt, I'll wear it to work, take a picture, and post it in the blog.



    Better late than never, I suppose. Thanks for being game, Sarah. And apologies for the delay! I promise to be more timely next time someone sends me a shirt.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    Take That, Big Apple

    Well, it looks like I'm moving to New York City in the next couple of months. The Boston office of Fast Company is closing, and while I can work from home in Boston, where I live now isn't really conducive to working from home -- and I need co-workers around. You see, I'm one of those people people.



    Soon, I'll be looking for a new apartment in the city to the south. I think I'll check out Hoboken, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and other parts first, but Manhattan isn't out of the question: East Village, Lower East Side, perhaps between midtown and Canal Street. I'd like one or two bedrooms and ample space for books. I have a lot of books and records. If you have a lead on a place that doesn't require a fee, I'll offer a generous reward. Email me if you have referrals or leads.

    Photo credit: Michelle Kennedy

    Rules for Fools XVIII

    Rule No. 21: If you leave your cell phone on the kitchen table at home, you will feel absolutely naked. Naked!

    Monday, November 10, 2003

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXII

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
    Why go see the new remake, when you can revisit the 1974 Tobe Hooper original? While I didn't keep up with the sequels, I see no reason to remake this low-budget shocker supposedly based on a true crime that occurred in 1973. As far as slasher movies go, Hooper's vision is relatively restrained. Most of the violence is suggested, and outside of some establishing shots of bone-iture in the killers' home, there is very little gore. Similarly, it's more of a linear run-and-hunt screamer than a suspenseful mystery. There's very little hesitancy in the movie, and Gunnar Hansen's Leatherface is absolutely mindless and relentless in his attempts to kill his prey. In several scenes, B-queen Marilyn Burns demonstrates her golden throat as she screams persistently for surprisingly long periods of time. And the only hint of the supernatural is the desiccated grandfather's taste for Burns' heroine Sally Hardesty's blood. In fact, despite the movie's history and fame, what Hooper has left us with is a backwater Texan tale of economic development -- development in which a mentally unbalanced family is left behind and turns elsewhere for their livelihood and survival. I was surprised by how quickly Hardesty's circle of friends was dispatched -- the meathook scene is a favorite -- and for the most part, the deleted scenes and "blooper reel" on the DVD aren't really worth watching. Bloopers, indeed: "I meant to cut off her arm! I slipped and sliced off her leg!" "You goof. Cut!"

    Event-O-Dex LXXXIII

    Saturday, Nov. 15: Big Digits, Radar Eyes, and the Count Me Outs save the world at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville.

    Anchormen, Aweigh! XXIX

    I couldn't decide if it was good news or bad news, so I'll leave it up to you: I spotted an Anchormen CD -- "Punk Rock is Awesome" -- at a Half Price Used Books in Rocky River, Ohio, west of Cleveland. -- Joe Germuska

    From the In Box: Street Art II

    The timing isn't exactly random. I don't get to London (from Norwich) all that often, so my trips to Leytonstone have tied in with the annual general meeting of the British Association for Modern Mosaic in October. It was the Friday before the meeting. I didn't get to London until midday, and I still managed to scurry around and get about 250 photos for my site. Someone has to, surely. Maybe more information than you really wanted, but did you see the new ones of the Paolozzi mosaics at Tottenham Court Road? The Michelin building is pretty funky too. -- Rod

    Corollary: Technofetishism XLVII

    There's a handy little app called Postfix Enabler that you can download and run to configure your mail server under Panther. Slick as heck. Personal email's back up and running.

    Friday, November 07, 2003

    Technofetishism XLVII

    I'm at work late tonight, but I just finished installing Mac OS X Panther. It seems to have confused my mail server, which I use for personal email through Eudora, but otherwise, it seems stable. We'll see what differences I detect as I use it.

    From the In Box: Street Art II

    Almost exactly one year ago today, I mentioned some Alfred Hitchcock-inspired tile mosaics that had been installed in Underground stations in London. Yesterday, Rod, the proprietor of the Joy of Shards Mosaic Resource, emailed me to say that he's updated and expanded the archive of mosaic photographs. Not only are all of the mosaics now available for viewing, Rod's included extra detail shots of the installations. Thanks for the update, Rod!

    Event-O-Dex LXXXII

    Friday, Nov. 14: Spoilsport, Les Sans Culottes, and Pansy Division rock hard at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2003

    Breakfast of Champions

    This morning, I walked across the street from the hotel and finagled a bagel and cream cheese from a street cart for breakfast. The total price of my breakfast? $1. Sure, the bagel wasn't toasted and there wasn't a heck of a lot of cream cheese on the thing, but just the other weekend, I bought a plain bagel from an Au Bon Pain in Cambridge for 89 cents. The cream cheese itself cost an additional $1. Almost makes it worth the airfare down.

    Monday, November 03, 2003

    Corollary: Television-Impaired XVI

    Oh! The first episode of Average Joe just ended. And Media Dietician Clint Schaff got cut. Zach's an ass. Marc and Dennis are such dark horses that they their nags just might come in. And Tareq wins punk points for the best exchange. Paraphrased, perhaps extremely inaccurately, but you'll get the drift:

    Tareq: Do you like broccoli?
    Melana: I don't like broccoli. I like peas.
    Tareq: Peas.
    Melana: Do you like broccoli?
    Tareq: I don't really like green food.


    Go get 'em, tigers!

    Full disclaimer: I didn't plan to watch the show. I turned the TV on after my post-dinner nap, and there it was. Clint was in my house.

    The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XXVI

    I was so tired this, well, late afternoon, really, after covering conference sessions for Ad:Tech Blog and FC Now. In fact, walking south on the Avenue of the Americas in search of a bookstore and dinner, I was quite surprised when I saw that it was all of 5:30 p.m. So I didn't try too hard to find a good restaurant. Looping back north on Broadway around 40th Street -- where I heard the voice of and saw my friend Albert, whose attention I didn't catch (still, small world!) -- I ended up at the Playwright Restaurant on W. 49th Street. Established in 1993 -- what is it with this nod to faux history? -- the Playwright is a two-story tavern/restaurant pairing. I sat upstairs on the tavern side, where a bartender with a thick Irish accent chatted up three women visiting from San Francisco. My order? A Sam Adams Seasonal and Collin's Sub, a sandwich with turkey, ham, pepper jack cheese, and some sort of red pepper and caper tapenade. It was OK. No great shake. The great New York City Restaurant Elimination Game begins! I'd go back to the Astro. I wouldn't go back to the Playwright.

    All in the Family

    Last month at BloggerCon, I urged Steve Garfield to encourage his 78-year-old mother to start a blog. Oct. 12 -- not much more than a week after the event -- she launched My Mom's Blog. So far, Millie has posted entries about sunflowers, Tarzan, movies, local politics, marriage advice, dieting, and Mah Jong. Maybe she should meet the 86-year-old blogger Andy McCaskey. Regardless, file under: Thoroughly modern Millie!

    Sunday, November 02, 2003

    From the In Box: Television-Impaired XVI

    Straight from the horse's mouth:

    Early this year, before I found this wonderful place to work, a notice was forwarded to me by my a friend I was staying with to audition for an unnamed reality TV show. So there I was in Palm Springs with a camera in my face, giving cheesy answers to cheesy questions, and trying a lil' political subversion through political anecdotes and leftist propoganda.

    I knew nothing about the show going into it. I still know very little. What I do know is that I'll be on NBC Monday night. I also know you should probably check out the premiere because I may not have made it any further (ya never know).

    ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

    Yes, it's true. I'm on a silly reality show. I don't recommend 'em -- watching 'em or participating in them.

    No, I wasn't under the influence of drugs at the time of that decision.

    Of course, no, I am not average. Far from. In fact, my lawyer is fairly certain that I have grounds to sue for defamation.

    And, no, I won't let the fame go to my head. Just please don't ask for autographs while I'm eating dinner in public. That is so tacky.

    So... as much as I wouldn't mind no one watching the show, check it out. And then do damage control amongst the millions of viewers who will mistake me for some wack average dude on TV.


    Make that surreality TV, I think.

    Urbannatural History

    On the cab ride to the hotel tonight, we drove past a wonderful sight -- and site -- that I'll have to revisit. Set back from the street in a courtyard littered with tables and chairs near 1 E. 53rd St. is a waterfall. Cascading along a wall at the back of the courtyard, the 20-foot waterfall -- running at 1,800 gallons a minute -- is well-lit and extremely beautiful. Especially at night. Named Paley Park after a former chairman of CBS, the site is actually a public park and has been active since 1967. Thank you, William Paley!

    The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XXV

    I'm in New York City for the first few days this week to confblog Ad:Tech for Fast Company Now and MarketingWonk. The New York City Marathon was today, so the hotel is relatively crowded, and a lot of people are wearing marathon windbreakers. I can hear and feel the elevators running near my room -- at first I mistook it for the subway.

    In any event, I walked a couple of blocks away from the hotel to grab dinner at a neighboorhood. The Astro Restaurant has been in operation since 1980 and blends the best of old-school diner fare with sit-down restaurant comfort. With a staff wearing dress shirts and ties and dark-upholstered booths, the restaurant feels more formal than it might, but the menu is anything but fancy. About $15 got me a salami sandwich with Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato on toasted rye and a bottle of Sam Adams. While the sandwich came with a paper cup of coleslaw and a pickle that was more pickled than most diner pickles I like, I missed the presence of potato chips or French fries. But that's the Astro: Comfortable, unpretentious, but a step above the basics.

    Friday, October 31, 2003

    'Tis the Season to Be... AWOL XVI

    Sunday night, I head down to New York City to confblog Ad:Tech for Fast Company Now and MarketingWonk. That means that Media Diet may be quiet until I get back to Boston. That doesn't mean that Media Diet is dead (long live Media Diet!). It just means that it's resting.

    Television-Impaired XVI

    Hold the phone. Could this be... Media Dietician Clint Schaff?

    Thursday, October 30, 2003

    Event-O-Dex LXXXI

    Saturday, Nov. 1: The Anchormen, Young Sexy Assassins, and the Beatitudes (from Copenhagen!) count down the days and count off the hits at PA's Lounge in Somerville.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2003

    Rest in Peace III

    I can't believe I just learned that Neil Postman died earlier this month. Rather ironic for the iconoclastic media critic.

    Library Silence

    The University of Illinois Library is taking books that haven't been checked out in 10-20 years and moving them to a high-density storage warehouse. Workers have already selected the first 800,000 books to be moved to the warehouse. And get this: They'll be organized by size. Well, at least it's better than destroying them.

    Read But Dead XX

    DoubleTake, the high-minded magazine based on Davis Square in Somerville, has gone on hiatus. Most of the staff walked out in July, and a skeleton crew of three is currently rethinking the publication as a business. Since August, the team has stopped publication, cut expenses, audited the magazine's taxes, registered as a business, and enlisted a consulting firm to help craft a business strategy. Good luck!

    Monday, October 27, 2003

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXI

    The Fall of the House of Usher
    The 1928 silent French version of this classic Edgar Allan Poe story is an atmospherically minimal adaptation of one of the more suspenseful pieces of short fiction. While I don't think it's as impressive visually as some of the German expressionistic silent films of the same era, it still has its impressive moments. I guess my major beef with the Jean Epstein-directed hour-long piece is its pacing. The movie just plods. I realize silent films aren't the quickest of movies, but between the slow-moving visuals, overwrought depictions of madness and surprise, and overdubbed readings of the title cards, I got frustrated. Frustrated because I knew where the story was going, having read and reread the source material, but I had to stick with the film to get there. One saving grace -- in addition to the delightfully overacted facial expressions one can expect from silent movies -- was the new score, which was provided by a music historian who drew on source material from the medieval period. While occasionally scribbly in the stereotypical horror movie soundtrack violin sense, the score was often distraction enough from the presentation's plodding pace.

    Clip-Art Comics V

    I don't have a lot of details, but word is that the character Karate Snoopy will not appear in future printings of David Rees' "new" book, My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable. Did United Media and the Charles Schulz estate threaten legal action? Now that Rees is being published by Riverhead Books, is he too high profile to sneak by on the down low? Only Circulatory Man knows for sure.

    Happy Birthday to Media Dieticians XIX

    An uncle of mine in Indiana turns 100 years old today. 100 years old. Wow.

    From the In Box: From the Reading Pile XXII

    As a point of interest, Gabagool! #1 Special Edition was the original Gabagool! #1, but totally redrawn so it would look better. It was a dumb thing to do, but at the time I was bothered by the cruddy drawings I did for the original comic. -- Mike Dawson

    From the In Box: The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXX

    Saw your blurb about watching "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." This profile ran in our paper today. -- Su Yim

    Pieces, Particles XII

    The following stories spotted recently in print publications might be worth a look. Heads and decks, only. Heads and decks.

    Candlepin Bowling Is Still Up His Alley by Nathan Cobb, The Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 2003

    Kendall Cafe Closing by Ted Drozdowski, The Boston Phoenix, Oct. 24, 2003

    Pleased to Meter You?, by Marty D. Wolfand, The Boston Phoenix, Oct. 24, 2003
    From its obscure and humble beginnings in Oklahoma, the parking meter has become a ubiquitous street presence whose long shadow now looms darkly over our motoring experience

    Recovery Phase by Dan Kennedy, The Boston Phoenix, Oct. 24, 2003
    The Atlantic survives -- and thrives -- following the death of Michael Kelly. But questions about its future remain.

    With Progress, a Cruel Twist by Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 2003
    Once Dunkin' staple, labor-intensive cruller out

    Highways and History

    This is the first year since 1999 that I haven't gone on a six-week roadtrip for the magazine. And a couple of people are undertaking a similar participatory journalism project for Wired! Truth is, as glad as I am to be home this fall, I'm a little envious. Route 1? In search of geek history? Too cool.

    Friday, October 24, 2003

    From the Reading Pile XXII

    Bries Catalog 2003
    As a catalog, this beautiful screen-printed item doesn't work so well, says the woman staffing the table for this "publisher of fine comics" at SPX. And I'm amazed and disappointed that that's the case. This catalog -- the most impressive I've seen -- is a wonderfully produced item complete with tucks and folds, illustration details, and handwritten descriptions. The catalog features work by Pieter de Poortere, Lamelos, Stefan van Dinther and Tobias Schalken, Ulf K., Uli Oesterle, and others, which should give you a sense of the kinds of comics Bries trafficks in. Wonderful stuff -- and a catalog, while worthy in its own right, that's well worth ordering from. $3 to Bries, Kammenstraat 41, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.

    Gabagool! #2-3 (June and September 2002)
    Despite the funny animals depicted on the cover of #2, this is farn from an anthropomorphic mini. After obsessing over whether the Fantastic Four should have welcomed Spiderman into their ranks -- and withstanding his landlord's rant about blowjobs -- Christopher Vigliotti gets ready to go to a Brazilian restaurant with his roommates and his almost-girlfriend. The sequence in which he selects an outfit (p. 7) works well, and the dialogue during the dinner party is quite clever, as are the first four panels on p. 13. Love the waiter on p. 11! There are artistic moments (p. 19) in which this comic really shines, and given the solid scripting, my only complaint is that #2 is too short at 24 pages. So the longer #3 -- at 36 pages -- is quite welcome. The "all action" issue opens with some surprisingly Tom Hart-esque drawing (especially given the usual Tony Consiglio by way of Peter Bagge artwork) and Christopher Vigliotti dramatically (panel 5, p. 3) retells the tale of bounty hunting, the Y2K "problem," and the recovery of a magic guitar. Ace Frehley makes an appearance, Jed name drops Alan Davis, and the glowering Aris Samaras finally says something. Throw in some able narrative interludes, a flashback to eighth grade, and the first edition of Fiend Folio, and you've got an impressive story of friendship, violence, and justice. The inside back cover sports a column by Cousin Lenny about the Bronx, adding a nice zine-like feel to an otherwise excellent comic. I can't wait to read more of Gabagool! $1 from Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke, P.O. Box 1638, Radio City Station, New York, NY 10101-1638.

    Gabagool! #1 Special Edition (February 2003)
    Contributing to the general comic book geekery of other issues of Gabagool!, this 28-page "special edition" adds an element of InterWeb fannishness. Our hero, Christopher Vigliotti, scours the Web for Star Wars and Spiderman news before going home, dreams of ROM, Voltron, and Cthulhu dancing in his head. The roomies debate the merits of selling pot versus working at the grocery store and go to a bar, where they call back the "Who talks like you?" joke from #2 (p. 11 -- p. 10 in this issue), reminisce about their old band at SUNY-Albany, and hatch their plan to become bounty hunters. It appears as though this "special edition" is a reprint of #1, but that's OK. Continuity Chris would approve. Indeed, for this is the issue in which the bounty hunters find Doreen's dad. The at-work small-panel sequence on p. 17 is a nice piece of minimal narrative, and the manner in which they find Bill is a pleasing punchline, especially given the doubletake. The issue closes with a three-page throwaway titled "Secret Santa" and an opinion column by Cousin Lenny. My only advice would be to use the text-based column to break up the comic -- and to get a Xeric grant. Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke could easily publish a longer book. $1 from Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke, P.O. Box 1638, Radio City Station, New York, NY 10101-1638.

    House of Cards
    Using a deck of cards as the organizing principle, Shawn Cheng shares a 44-page story about love and loss, wishes and wanting, sin and snowglobes, pets and preference, adventure and absence, Halloween and hollowness, and music and mistrust. Cheng's artwork is at times evocative of Megan Kelso, and if he's able to maintain this level of lushness daily online, he's a talent to watch. Quite impressive. Write Shawn Cheng for more information.

    In a Rut
    Apparently an ashcan promoting the fifth issue of David Stanley's comic Outside, this 12-page story is a good introduction to his work. Artistically reminding me somewhat of John Hankiewicz's Tepid work, Stanley's drawing blends sketchy realism with occasionally oblique cartoonishness. A young boy grapples with his growing attraction to women, and his sister and her friends discuss the kind of men they like as a result. Meanwhile, the boy and girl's mother copes with the "octopus" at work. It's a good, multi-level look at sexual attraction and harassment, and if it's any indication of Stanley's wider work, Outside appears promising. Free at SPX from David Stanley, 850 N. Randolph St. #103, Box A35, Arlington, VA 22203.

    The Patron
    I picked up several of Jamie Tanner's minicomics and pamphlets at SPX. Featuring excellent artwork, off-kilter narratives, and hand-decaled items, they are interesting objects as well as excellent reads. This 28-page 2002 publication includes four connected vignettes about Heinrich Bruno, a monkey-man and "patron of the pornographic arts." I'm not quite sure who the dead body on p. 20 is, but the panels depicting Bruno's children (pp. 17 and 23) are awesome. A solid read, but slightly dissatisfying. Write Jamie Tanner for more information.

    Sketchbook 2
    Designed by Cheryl Weaver, this 40-page handmade collection of "pictures which have been cleared for publication" combines elements of Farm Pulp, Jeff Zenick, and John Porcellino. Content includes cubes, chair construction, belligerent birds, word play, artistic analysis, passionate pickpockets, and history that's not heavy handed. It's an interesting idea for a publication, and even though I was initially put off by the price, Anders Nilsen remains a need to read. Very nice. $10 to Anders Nilsen, 3103 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago, IL 60622.

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXX

    One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
    This is one of the better movies made in the last few decades. A young Jack Nicholson shines as the lead character in this adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel about a man who's transferred from prison to a mental hospital. It's mostly a statement that life is what you make it and that you should never give up regardless of the challenges you face. It's also a wonderful character study of people who find their confinement safer than the wider world even though they're not formally committed. And lastly, it's a strong argument to question and stand up to authority for what you think is right despite an overly oppressive environment. In the end, Nicholson's antihero Randall Patrick Murphy falls prey to the very system he's trying to game, and the only character to truly become free is the quiet hulk Chief Bromden, played by Will Sampson. Despite the accolades heaped on Scatman Crothers for his role as Orderly Turkle -- and later appearance in Nicholson's magnum opus the Shining -- I think it's the young Danny DeVito (Martini) and Christopher Lloyd (Taber) who deserve considerable kudos along with Nicholson. DeVito is priceless -- and almost unrecognizable. A brilliant movie. Worth revisiting.

    Event-O-Dex LXXX

    Monday, Oct. 27: The Mary Reillys, Star Star Quarterback, Rosa Chance Well, and Mark Robinson pop up at TT the Bear's in Cambridge.

    Mention Me! XLVII

    Joi Ito's been egosurfing Amazon's new Inside the Book search, so I thought I would, too. I had no idea I've been quoted and cited in so many books! Among the books that have dropped my name:

  • Tom Peters, The Circle of Innovation
  • Leonard Berry, Discovering the Soul of Service
  • Christine Piotrowski, Professional Practice for Interior Designers
  • William Upski Wimsatt, No More Prisons
  • John Hagel III and Arthur Armstrong, Net Gain
  • F. Leigh Branham, Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business
  • Cynthia Froggatt, Work Naked
  • Drew Banks and Kim Daus, Customer.Community
  • Hesselbein, Leading Beyond the Walls
  • Robert Reich, The Future of Success


  • That's pretty rad. Peters and Reich cited articles I wrote. I can go home now.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXIX

    Cat People
    Complete with a mournful David Bowie theme song, this early-80s self-described "erotic fantasy" is a wonderful example of cheesy horror/softcore crossover. A redux of the lycanthopy myth, this is a loose remake of the 1942 movie by the same title and focuses on the trials of two siblings who suffer from an age-old curse. The progeny of a race of leopard people, the two turn into voracious felines whenever they're sexually aroused, and the brother -- played by Malcolm McDowell -- tries to persuade and seduce his sister, played by the lovely Nastassja Kinski, to become his lover. Because it's only safe for family members to sleep together. Otherwise, others die. She'll have nothing to do with it and takes up with a zoo curator -- the heroic John Heard -- who strives to secure her love while unraveling the curse of the killer cats. Set in New Orleans, the movie has some nice city and country shots -- along with a stereotypical bayou bumpkin played by Emery Hollier. The suspense is light, as is the erotica, and the Maxx-like flashback exposition adds an out-of-place mythical element to the proceedings. All in all, Cat People is a nicely atmospheric period piece that attempts to blend and bend genres with some success.