Hard Underbelly  

The official news spot for Hard Underbelly.


Mood: Kind of Productive
Music: Sex Born Poison; by Air (featuring Buffalo Daughter)

Before I get into anything else, Sex Born Poison is one of the coolest songs ever.

Anyway, there's a new product up at the Hard Underbelly Store. It's a shirt. It reads, "where were you when they were handing out brains? still in the ugly line?". It's a shirt for those days when just pissing off the people you talk to isn't enough; you need to piss of complete strangers that just glance at you as well. The amusing thing is, this quote will not be used in Hard Underbelly until at least Wednesday, so this t-shirt is kind of like a glimpse into the future. Spooky.

On another slightly productive note, since today was rainy, cold, and icky, I spent it inside, primarily working on a WarCraft 3 map. There's a fun map out there called Tome Hunt, wherein you select a hero and then run around for ten minutes powering up by grabbing tomes and such in a big open area. After that, the players duel each other one by one, and then the winners have a free-for-all. The bad thing about the map is that there's this godawful, absolutely shitty music (that was the credits easter egg from the frozen throne) playing in a horrible, perpetual loop. The only way to turn it off is to mute the sound effects, and that's no fun. So I've been designing a Tome Hunt of my own. Unfortunately I don't know how to do the random tome generation thing. But I'm working on it.

I still have to do a Not All There comic today, but I'll do that later.

Heartattack in a Layby; by Porcupine Tree

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  posted by Tristan @ 6:28 PM

Saturday, October 11, 2003  


Mood: Disgusted
Music: Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep At the Wheel; by Barenaked Ladies

Last night I watched a bit of that Bill Moyers tv show on PBS called Now. The main topic was President Bush's Faith Based Initiative.

Whenever the Christian Right side of the debate was talking, it made me feel kind of homicidal. Where can I start? Well, to begin with, there's the guy who pointed out, and rightly so, that the seperation of church and state is not really in the Constitution. The seperation bit was actually in a letter from, well, I can't remember, but it might have been Jefferson. The closest we come to seperation in any real document is the "Freedom to Worship". So this guy's argument was that since church and state aren't rigidly seperated, that it's okay. You know what else was okay back then? Slavery. That doesn't mean it's okay now, jackass. I'd also like to mention that when the Bill of Rights was being drawn up, some people were opposed to it on the basis that they feared people in the future would think that only the rights layed out in that document were inalieble.

The gist of this bill is that churches are, in part, charitable organizations that help people, and that the government should help fund that. In the Faith Based Initiative itself, it is illegal for churches to use the money for proselytizing (which I have probably spelled incorrectly). However, they are able to use that money for construction. So they can't get all evangelical with that money, but they can go and spend it on, say, a giant, auditorium style pulpit. I'm sorry, but I just don't see the difference.

Anyway, congress kind of bent over and let this thing pass, but in the Senate there was so much vicious and pasisonate debate that it was never voted on. Don't feel good about it yet, 'cause Bush is such and asshole that he just made it an executive order and signed it into law anyway. It's further proof of Bush's bizarre take on the presidency, namely, he thinks it's some kind of license to do whatever the fuck he wants.

On the plus side, I really respect those people of faith who have opposed it because they feel it goes against what religion is supposed to do. They feel it's dangerous for the government to support churches, and I agree. Let's all think for a moment and remember what happens when government gets too wrapped up in religion. Hmm. Islamic fundamentalist dictatorships. And let's not forget the middle ages and all the shit that went down between the pope and England. That wasn't fun at all.

Now, to set the record straight, I have nothing against most religions (as long as their general message is one of y'know, peace and love and such). I'm even willing to accept that people have a right to the jerkier religions (the ones that are kind of, well, mean). If you want to believe that people who don't believe in your god are going to roast in eternal hellfire, hey, that's your business. The problem is when people start trying to put their religion on other people. Evangelizing and such. Once you start trying to convince other people to join your church, you are no longer a person of faith, you are now... an asshole. You might argue that hey, even Jesus (and I am on the record about Jesus in that I don't really think he was such a bad guy) had to preach and try to convert people. And I agree, but he didn't fucking go door to door with it. He gave a few sermons on the mount, and if you felt like showing up and listening, fine. But even when he was healing the lepers, Jesus did not then hand them a pamphlet about Heaven and Hell.

But back to a little Bush-bashing, I was listening to NPR yesterday, which is pretty much the only radio I listen to anymore, and they were interviewing people on how they felt about Bush's job performance lately. One guy said that he felt it was important that we show a unified front behind our president. and I thought, god fucking christ damnit shit no you idiot. You're fucking up democracy. You're not supposed to just blindly follow along and support the guy with an ugly tie in the oval office. You're supposed to think for your own goddamned self and disagree, verbally, and with letters to your congressperson and senator and with your votes when you don't like what elected officials do. You are not supposed to just say, "Hey, he's our president, and we've got to stand by him." It's just fucking wrong.

I hope that the sheer number of italics and bold words in this post, and that last paragraph in particular, will illustrate how strongly I feel about this subject.

Ending Music: Want; by Rufus Wainwright

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  posted by Tristan @ 11:11 AM


Mood: Good
Music: Oh What A World; by Rufus Wainwright

Well, first things first, there's a new comic, featuring in a little, no-line cameo, Hank from Kenny Kiel's Squaresville. Kenny's comic is the only thing Keenspace has to offer that I enjoy on a regular basis. Describing most Keenspace comics as "misguidedly plagiaristic" would be overly charitable, but Squaresville is different and weird, which is rare in Keenspace. I've found too many Keenspace comics are weird attempts to synthesize Megatokyo and Final Fantasy 7. People should try originality. And before anyone jumps down my throat about writing "just another vampire story", I'd like to pre-emptively say: Fuck you. Vampires are public domain, and my plot is original, so lay off. Anyway, Squaresville=funny.

Something else really good is Rufus Wainwright's new album, Want One. This guy continues to make some really excellent music. So far I think the stand-out tracks on this album are "Oh What A World", "Vibrate", and "Want". But it's all good stuff. It's not like, for instance, a Barenaked Ladies disc, where there are six or seven really good songs and the rest just seems like forgettable filler, all of Wainwright's songs are great.

Another fabulous thing is the movie Lost In Translation starring Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson. It's quirky and excellent, with the same kind of ennui (yeah, I feel good about using that word) and emotion that Ghost World has. Scarlett Johansson was in that movie too. Yeah, I might as well fess up in that I am ridiculously in love with her. She's got a lot of cred in my book, by being in really cool, indie art type films like Ghost World and Lost in Translation as opposed to, you know, teen slasher flicks and dumb teenie-bopper romantic dramadies. I haven't seen Eight-Legged Freaks, so I won't hold that against her. Besides, David Arquette was in that movie. You all may hate David Arquette because of those Collect Call commercials, but then, you probably haven't seen "Dream With The Fishes", which proves that he's not a total jackass. Anyway, Lost in Translation is absolutely wonderful, and everyone with a pulse should see it. Bill Murray continues his streak of good roles from Rushmore and the Royal Tennenbaums in this film. And, as usual, Scarlett Johansson is amazingly talented and beautiful.

I think Vancouver B.C. would be a cool place to live. There's a great bar there. And it seems that all the really cool movies get filmed there. Blade: Trinity is being filmed there. I imagine that the work is pretty good for professional movie extras there.

Speaking of living places, I'm going to go look at a room on Wednesday that is being rented out in the house that a guy from Coldwater Creek lives in. I think it's on Capitol hill, and the rent is only about 400 a month, which I could probably pull off.

It started raining pretty good in Seattle today, which makes me happy. I like the rain. It cleans out the air, and it also tends to drive away the summer tourists. Seattlites spend all summer telling people, "The weather isn't usually this nice," just to make sure they don't think about moving here.

Speaking of tourists, I was in the SBC at Westlake Square on Sunday morning before work. I had an hour to kill, and I was inking Monday's comic and sipping hot cocoa. A family of Japanese tourists came in and sat down next to me at the window bar. After a little discussion among themselves, the mother turned to me and asked me to show her where they were on the standard Seattle tourist map. It took me a moment to figure it out, because she had the map upside-down, making the water seem East of us. I turned the map around for her and found the distinctive triangle shape of Westlake Square, which is ridiculously misnamed. I drew a little circle on one point, illustrating the location of the SBC. I went back to inking, and the mother went to the other side of the bar. She was replaced by her daughter, that I guessed to be between the ages of five and eight. She watched me drawing with an intensity reserved for the Japanese and young children, so she had both of those going for her. Her older sister asked her something, and she replied. I don't speak any Japanese, but the small hand gestures made it clear that the little girl was telling the older one that she was just watching me draw, and that she should leave her alone. They got up and left a few minutes later. I kind of wonder if the girl thought I was poorly imitating Manga, or if she thought I was a master of American style comic art. Although our market is currently saturated with a wide range of Japanese comics running the gamut from shitty (Fucking Sailor Moon and Pokemon) to amazing (Akira and Blade of the Immortal), I don't think a lot of our comics make it across the sea to them, so I imagine she didn't have a lot in the way of American comics to compare my stuff to. I certainly hope she wasn't sitting there, watching me draw, and thinking why is this guy even trying? Little kids that silently watch you are neat. Parents always worry that they're bothering people, but I find their single-minded ability to focus their attention on trying to figure out what the big people are doing is endearing.

It's occuring to me that I lack a comprehensive system for dealing with titles of things and proper nouns. Sometimes I italicize, sometimes I put it in "Quotes", and other times I just Capitalize. If I'm not going to go with what is technically correct, I should at least start trying to be internally consistent.

This has gone on a bit too long.

Ending Music: Vibrate; by Rufus Wainwright

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  posted by Tristan @ 7:28 PM

Monday, October 06, 2003  

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