So there I am, plugging along on the comic. I finished a three page sequence and moved on, but something kept bugging me. I knew what it was, but did not want to face it. Finally, however, I forced myself to look over that sequence and admit that it just did not work. The pages got over the information, but there was no drama whatsoever. I gave in, and reworked the sequence, rearranging panels, rewriting dialogue and ultimately adding two more pages. It may not be perfect, but it is much more satisfying dramatically and the visuals have more impact because of the pacing. The sequence is still a week or two away, but I’m looking forward to your reactions to it.
I keep returning to the trailers for Pacific Rim, del Toro’s consolation prize for the collapse of At the Mountains of Madness. My fear with movies like these is that all the best bits are in the trailer, but I have to tell you, I am ready for this picture to get to the big screen. Gian robots, giant undersea monsters, end of the world—what’s there not to like? Other trailers do less for me. Tom Cruise’s Oblivion is kind of vague as to what the movie was about; Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel seems to take itself a bit too seriously; I have absolutely no hope for World War Z or The Evil Dead remakes.
Have a good weekend. Don’t forget to vote at Top Web Comics.
A little update: One reason I don’t really brood about the conclusions of really complex theories of anything is because they imply, even when stated explicitly otherwise, that we are on the verge of knowing everything. But then we find something new that causes us to rethink our positions. Here’s one I just read today, about scientists discovering temperatures below Absolute Zero, negative temperatures. What’s really interesting is that these negative temperatures are hotter than Absolute Zero, but colder than positive temperatures. Since objects with different temperatures tend to equalize by transferring the heat/cold, the upshot, as impossible as it may be to ever build one, you can theoretically have a negative temperature engine that could generate heat/energy to work, but which would absorb the heat produced, thus making an engine that works at more than 100% efficiency! Negative temperatures may also help explain dark energy. It may ultimately come to nothing, but it does indeed show that we don’t know everything.
I find Determinism both distressing and depressing. I first encountered it as a way of looking at the world through theology, specifically, Calvin’s Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. The contortions the writers went through to say that though God had created everything, thus condemning a large random number of souls to hell, this notion wasn’t to be be construed so as to imply that God was in any way the author of Evil were as baroque as an act in Cirque de Soleil, but lacking in entertainment value. I had many discussions (increasingly heated) with my pastor, who was an otherwise nice guy. But rejecting his core principles, and those of that particular denomination, there wasn’t anyway I could stay. I resolved the issue in my own mind and moved on.
The ugly idea that the entirety of life is fixed, immutable thing and we are merely going through the motions as we encounter each “now” raised its head again in Philosophy class. More heated discussions. On the positive side, I probably would never have read as widely or deeply as I did without that provocation (and I don’t mean to say I am in any way a philosopher). There’s no final proof, of course, but without any sort of free will I decided life just didn’t make any sense, and so I took the side of those authors who argued that we had at least some choice in the matter. Destiny or Free Will? As Forrest Gump said, maybe both.
Recently, though, reading Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and The Fabric of the Cosmos, I ran up against determinism once again. Apparently, every theory of physics from General Relativity on comes to the ultimate conclusion that spacetime is just one big (if you want to call infinite “big”) loaf, completely unyielding to change. Even if we could go back into the past, it would be impossible to change anything. Oh, sure, there’s the alternate worlds escape hatch, but that doesn’t do much for me. If at every choice point (which I would think would be every single now) the universe splits into infinite alternatives in which each of the various possible choices becomes manifest, it only means that there are infinite fixed realities. Nothing actually happens; those alternatives, if the theories are right, must likewise be fixed and immutable.
Unless there is no such thing as the future. Unless our “now” is the leading point of time’s arrow. I’m sure, given the notion that ‘now’ is relative to a specific point of observation makes total hash of this idea, but that’s math for you. It works for me, though. Now I can look forward to getting up tomorrow and letting a day of choice unfold before me.
On a happier note, I’ve been on a Sherlock Holmes kick lately. You’ll be hearing more about that soon, but one of the highlights was finally sitting down and watching the 1937 Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war. It is without doubt the goofiest Holmes film I’ve ever seen, with German matinee idol Hans Albers making an excellent if more Teutonic-than-I’m-used-to Holmes. It’s a comedy, first off, and Albers isn’t really Holmes at all. He and his pall are con men pretending to be Sherlock and Watson, and fooling everybody with the gambit except one loudly dressed man who laughs every time he says them (turns out he’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the only one who tips to the scam.) Of course, the duo are soon plunged into a complex mystery –it’s really a pretty good detective movie—but the highlight comes about half an hour in. Having conned their way into a ritzy hotel, the two men retire to separate bathrooms for good hot bubble baths. But they sing a musical number as they scrub away, with Watson standing up in the tub covered in bubbles. For those of you so inclined, the film is available on YouTube.
Have a good weekend.
Hope everyone is having a great holiday. I’m going to take this week off, but rather than completely short-change you, I whipped this up. See you next week.
Lovecraft is Missing is nominated for Best Web Horror Comic at Comic Monsters. Go ahead, run over there and vote and I’ll be waiting for you right here when you get back. (And while you’e at it, you can go to Top Web Comics and vote for LIM there as well. Exercise your Constitutional rights by voting!)
Just in case you rushed, here are all the nominees:
Crossed:Wish You Were Here
The Zombie Hunters
Lovecraft is Missing
You can also vote on all your favorite mainstream horror comics.
I watched Kuroneko , a Japanese horror movie that is erotic and gruesome and creepy as hell, even given the fact it was made in 1968. The story isn’t all that easy to summarize, but essentially it’s about two women who are raped and murdered by a band of wandering samurai. The women make a deal with the underworld demons to return to earth and rip the throats out of samurai and drink their blood. Cats are involved, as is the return of the son/husband of the two women and some great cinematography.
Also, I was just about to finish Resident Evil 4 when my Xbox console died. I lost all the saves and I don’t think I care to go back and play through the whole thing again just to see the end. In fact, I was a little disappointed in it. I thought I knew the basic story behind the RE franchise, but this one was all over the place to the point that it was just goofy. There were some fun parts, but I don’t feel the need to play any of the other games in the series. The monsters weren’t as silly as the head crabs in Half-Life, but they never came close to the splicers in Bioshock or the Necromorphs in Dead Space.
Last day of the semester; tomorrow is finishing up all the grades in time to get to the graduation ceremonies. I have two 3D students graduating, and I’m very proud of both of them. Hali Howard and Dylan Rogers are sharp, easy to work with, willing to do the hard work AND they have talent. Not having children of my own, I feel like a proud parent sending them out into the world, knowing that I’ve played some small part in launching them out onto what I believe will be truly special careers. after everything is said and done, I’ll put some of their original modeling up here to share with you.
Be sure to vote at Top Web Comics. I promise there will be new incentives after the first of the year!
And help us get to 1,000 likes on Facebook.
Have a good weekend.
My mom used to say. “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” Like all folk sayings, there’s a fair amount of truth in it. Whereas just a few short weeks ago I was nine weeks ahead on LIM, I’m now down to three. And the more I try to catch up, the more mistakes I make. I realize that you all see the result, not what I really intended, but there’s a certain line that I’ve been crossing and it’s pissing me off. I’m not a perfectionist, I know that I have to let some things go if I’m ever going to really finish this project. But lately I’ve been feeling my work is getting sloppy, I’m finding more continuity mistakes -little stuff, nothing that affects the story, but stuff that is irritating nonetheless–and I’ haven’t been too happy with some of the drawing and coloring.
All this to say that I’ll probably have to take another break sometime after the first of the year to build up some more inventory. I’ll keep going for as long as I can, but I am going to slow down a bit and do the damn pages so that I’m more satisfied with the result. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve referenced this video before, but a reader sent in the link and it’s a good one to share again and again. I give you Shadow Over Innsmouth: the Musical.
Have a god weekend.
Possible ice on Mercury? Given the proximity to the sun, I’d think even the shadow sides would be a bit more on the warmish side, but what do I know?
Although I’m diligently working on LIM plus writing on a horror novel for my thesis project, I still manage to sang a moment now and then to play video games. I’m at about the halfway point in Resident Evil 4, and it’s fun enough but disappointing. I never followed any of the Resident Evil movies or games, but I thought I’d picked up a notion of the overarching story: a bio-accident at a lab in Raccoon City turned people into zombie/living dead/ugly creatures, and the heroes had to stop it. Since this game is a sequel, I figured it would somehow relate to that storyline, but not so. Oh, there are lots of zombies and lots of shooting, but it is, at least thus far, dealing with some kind if occult group bent on some vague plan that includes kidnapping the president’s daughter. Not very compelling. Maybe it ramps up in the end, and I’m enjoying it as mindless entertainment, but I really want to move on to the mountain of other games I have on hand that seem to promise more.
A new month is about to begin at Top Web Comics, so don’t forget to vote for LIM. We were at least in the top 100 this month, but we used to hover in the mid-50s. I probably forget to vote every day as well, but I hate to think my voting for my own webcomic is the reason we made it that high!
I have some new blog material on hand, just no time to shape it at the moment, but soon…honest, soon. Until then, you’ll have to be satisfied with the comic.
Have a good weekend.
I probably ought to wait and post thee videos next week, since so many of you will be involved in Thanksgiving festivities, but then that wouldn’t be fair to the goodly number of you who live overseas. Can’t have that, so I’ll trust that the rest of you will catch up next week.
TED.com has become a very popular site in the last year, though it’s been around for a lot longer. For those of you who haven’t visited, it’s a site consisting of free videos of experts in a wide range of different fields giving incredible talks on cutting edge research and ideas. I watch a lot of them, but there are three that I am particularly fond of, and they are distantly related to the Brian Greene books I was discussing last week. Or at least they are damn fascinating in their own right.
The first one I’ll share with you is about femto-photography, a process that allows the ‘camera’ to film at a trillion frames per second. That’s right, a trillion. Regular movie film moves at 24 frames per second. Femto photography is fast enough and sensitive enough to capture the movement of light! You have to watch this, to see a small packet of photons shoot through and shatter within a Coke bottle. The uses of the photography are myriad, but I’m still processing the Coke bottle.
Next up is a man looking for new architectural shapes. Sounds dull as dirt, I know, but he’s talking about alien shapes that could fit nicely in a Lovecraft story. But even more to the point is the way he achieves theses shapes. Using algorithims he designs himself, he essentially folds boxes 10,000 or more times. A lot of them don’t pan out, but you have to see the ones that do.
Finally, a demonstration of how we see….and how it relates to the REAL world. Much of this is old stuff to anyone who has painted or worked with color, but the explanation behind why these effects occur is the meat of the video.
Enjoy. Have a good holiday or a good weekend.
I wish I was smart.
It’s not that I don’t think I’m intelligent; I do. But when reading books like Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and The Fabric of the Cosmos, or John Griibin’s Schrodinger’s Kittens, I realize just how thick I really am. I struggle with the concepts they illustrate, shaking my head over this being the LAYMAN’S version, the POPULAR version. Oh, I get the big picture, but there are examples that, no matter how many times I read them, I just don’t understand. And how the heck you can discern all these things with math, well, that’s another mystery.
So why read them? I love ‘em. I like stretching my brain. I do wish I understood enough math and basic physics to comprehend some of the more sophisticated stuff. I don’t want to be a physicist, but I’d sure like to be able to talk with one.
For those of you who haven’t read the books, they all deal with basically the same stuff: quantum mechanics, string theory, and the history leading up to both. And they deal with the weird, counter-intuitive predictions and results that come from those theories. For instance, Greene’s latest book, The Hidden Reality, gives ten examples of modern quantum and cosmological theories that, if you follow the math, lead to the idea of infinite multiple universes. He admits that doesn’t mean they actually exist…but they might. Each theory examined posits a slightly different kind of multiverse: one is seen as a large quilt, with each universe being isolated within its own patch, unable to reach beyond its cosmic horizon. Another looks at a Swiss cheese model, with bubble universes popping up within some kind of….uh, stuff. All are equally inaccessible. Then there’s the brane multiverse, where giant sheets of matter and energy collide or intersect, depending on the particular math, thus creating infinite big bangs. And the one where one universe bubble expands within another universe bubble. And the one where the universe as we know it is merely a reflection of an alternate reality on an outer surface.
The Fabric of the Cosmos, which I am currently reading, gives an explanation of relativity that I’ve never heard before, that actually did broaden my meagre understanding of that mighty concept. Without quoting directly, the idea is that in spacetime, we are constantly moving through the three spatial dimensions and time. When we are sitting absolutely still, we are moving through time; as we begin to move through space, that energy is diverted from our movement through time, but the two speeds will always add up to the speed of light. Ok, maybe old news to YOU, but an exciting little brain tickle for me.
I still don’t understand why an electron fired at a shield with two slits in it only seems to make a wave in two dimensions. The simile commonly used is a pebble falling into a pond, but I can’t get past the idea that the pebble must also cause ripples going down and out from its impact. And though I’m sure this is all settled stuff in the world Greene inhabits, I am curious to know how that experiment would play out with multiple shields at multiple angles. My guess is that all the slits would produce the same effect, but I’m really curious, and it’s not like a question I can ask my wife or my neighbor. Nor do I think the question is in any way profound. But working with 3D animation, I tend to think in those terms, so 2D explanations sometimes confuse me. Like I said, I’m thick.
I wonder how HPL would have taken to all this stuff? Quantum mechanics and cosmology were just building up steam by the time he died, and I have no idea how much press these esoteric fields were getting in those days. They certainly would fit in with his materialistic world view, though they would still stretch it out quite a bit. I think he would have loved it, and found a whole host of new stories in them, something far advanced from The Dream in the Witch House.
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Have a good weekend.
After some years of intense research, I’m fairly certain that the Zombie Apocalypse is actually brought about by the 24 hour news cycle. Stretching 15 minutes of real news to fill an entire day wreaks havoc on both the public and the poor bastards that have to do the stretching. Of course, local filler eats up some of that time, with stories on how various breeds of dogs react to intruders and updates on the use of fried pies as a body cleansing agent, but the overall effect is to pulp the brain into a grey fluid that leaks out of every orifice it can reach, turning people into mind-numbed, shuffling seekers of body-snacks. Fortunately, the election is now over and there is some possibility of some of us escaping the trap.
That other mind-numbing medium, video games, has forced me to self-intervene and swear off for awhile, They are very addictivem even when I don’t care for the one I’m playing. I just finished Half Life 2, which did not live up to its reputation. It was ok, but it was soooooo looooonnnnnng. That and the fact that one of the major recurring threats in the game, head crabs, look like basted turkeys with a mouth in their breasts. It’s so silly, and it had to be silly in 2001, when the game was made. It took a lot of the tension out of the fights when the zombies were roaming around with turkeys on their heads. Just saying.
If I’m counting right, this is pg. 171 of LIM. Wow.Who’d'a thunk it? That’s roughly 8 regular, 22-page comics. In four years. Sigh.
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Have a good weekend.