Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 28

click on image to enlarge

I'm almost there, with only one Sunday comic and one daily. I have to say I've learned quite a bit, but always manage to let a typo slip through here and there. After this I will only be drawing the comic on a weekly basis.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pieman

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
North of the border we've already celebrated the even...
but us Canucks love the sales south of the border!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unique Advertising

MUSCAT GUMMY

"Its translucent color so alluring and taste and aroma so gentle and mellow offer admiring feelings of a graceful lady. Enjoy soft and juicy Kasugai Muscat Gummy."

APPLE GUMMY
"Every drop of fresh apple juice, carefully pressed from the reddest apples, shining in colors of the cheeks of a snow-country child, is yours to enjoy in each soft and juicy Kasugai Apple Gummy."

The translations use to be a heck of a lot funnier... luckily they are quite tasty.

53F8M3RKWNMK

Monday, November 23, 2009

Choose your own adventure

The low-fi version of video games, Choose Your Own Adventure was the smash hit book concept that delighted and intrigued millions of readers. Between 1979 to 1998 over 250 million copies were sold, and translated in 38 languages. I must my old copy came in very handy during long car trips... I faintly remember a circus plot.

Now that I look back at them I find that there is something creepy about all the covers. It reminds me of a cross between an ugly romance book cover and hideous painting sold at a garage sale. Unfortunately they are still tacky as ever.

You can still buy one...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Fantasy novels for YA and kids


TOP 10 FANTASY/ADVENTURE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

1. The Keys to the Kingdom, Garth Nix
2. Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
3. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
4. The Princess Bride, William Goldman
5. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
6. Dark Materials Trilogy, Phillip Pullman
(The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)
7. City of Embers, Jeanne DuPrau
8. Un Lun Dun, China Mieville
9. Percy Jackson Series, Rick Riordan
10. Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

Honorable Mentions
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
Magyk, Angie Sage
Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
Inkheart, Cornelia Funke


TOP 10 FANTASY/ADVENTURE BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Daughter of the Clayr Series, Garth Nix
(Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen) A stand out trilogy that doesn't follow the norm but will leave a nice aftertaste.
3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
4. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jonathan Stroud
(Amulet of Samarkand, Golem's Eye, Ptolemy's Gate) Many categorize this as a children's book but I found that when recommended, the language flew over the heads of many kids under eleven.
5. The Earthsea Quartet, Ursula Le Guin
6. The Chrysalids, John Wyndham
7. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
8. Watership Down, Richard Adams
9. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
10. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

It's all about mass appeal...
Twilight Series, Stephenie Meyer
Heard of it? I think I wanted to poke out my eyes a few times when I had to skim over the sickeningly saccharine dialogue, however I can understand the mass appeal to the female population.
The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare
A more action packed book series than Twilight, it also retains a great deal of the romantic tension (or should I say frustration?) of youth.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Journals and Confessions

Blogs can be a strange mix of intimate experiences and gross exaggeration. I recently discovered a blog that hasn't been updated in quite some time. Entitled TROPHY WIVES ANONYMOUS, the mysterious "Ophelia" describes her exploits as a form of therapy during her first few years of marriage. Surprisingly hilarious, the author makes no excuses for her pampered position and one can't help but feel slightly sickened and amazed by it all. She's obviously a well educated (albeit ignorant) self-absorbed beauty who can only look forward to watching her youth slip through her fingers. For her sake I hope her "perfect hubby" managed to escape the guillotine during the 2008 wall street downfall.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guerilla Dining

I've heard of underground clubs, speak-easy bars, or underground parties in haphazard areas... but this elusive group is a bit closer to the Freemasons for foodies. Popping up in many cities across the globe, some comprise of being secretly instructed to an unknown location with 20+ other strangers ... all with the goal of devouring mouth watering dishes created by a chosen premier chef and drowning in quality alcohol. Is it worth it? For many it is, since the $40-$180 price tag is reasonable compared to high flying dining. Although the "blind date" scenario may deter some, so long as a person is reasonably affable it could make for a good night.

Originating in Cuba, the concept was inspired from the Cuban Paladares in the 70s and 80s, and really found legs when the government realized they could take a slice of the pie with licensing. It has recently taken off in North America, perhaps more so with the sagging financial security and wish for exclusivity.

Here are a few... that could be near your hood.

Melbourne AU - Zingara Cucina
Sydney - Table for 20

Berlin - Cookies Cream
Berlin - Rodeo Club
Berlin - The Shy Chef
Barcelona - Kokun
Italy - Solo Per Due
London - Salad Club

Boston - O.N.C.E.
Chicago - Clandestino
Chicago - Wandering Goat
Los Angeles - Miguel Nelson
Los Angeles - The Hidden Agenda
Los Angeles/ Studio City - Underground Kitchen
New York City - 4 Course Vegan
New York City - NY Bite Club
New York City - Light-bulb Oven
New York City - A Razor, A shiny Knife
New York City - the Supper Club
New York City - Under Belly
Oakland - Ghetto Gourmet
Portland - Back Room
Portland - D'Merde
Portland - Simpatica
San Francisco - Shaw's Supper Club
Seattle - Gypsy
Seattle - One Pot

Montreal - Hidden Market
Toronto - Hidden Lounge


Buenos Aires - Diego Felix
Buenos Aires - Paladar
Buenos Aires - Casa Coupage
Mendoza - 743 Bistro

ARTICLES

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the art of folding



The art of Origami has stretched to beautiful and creative heights. Sometimes an exhibit may visit a local library or banking institution, but most of the time a person would have to visit the city/town that the convention is currently located in (above image done by Eric Joisel and Joseph Wu).

For those that would just like a quick peek here are a few links to wet your appetite.

Monday, November 16, 2009

MacGyver

Most of the younger generation will probably stare blankly at anyone who references the hit show in the 80s/90s, and I can't help but think they are missing out.

With highly ridiculous spy story scenarios, the American action/adventure show catered to the public with a mix of clever solutions done with low tech improvisations. A departure from the over the top espionage gadgets of James Bond, the show sparked a renewed interest in applied sciences all over the globe. Using his trusted Swiss army knife, duct tape and other household items, MacGyver always found a way out of the stickiest situations by his knowledge of chemistry, physics and outdoorsmanship.

With the abysmal amount of effort put into film projects lately, the resurgence of recycled ideas will at least lead to the feature film remake of MacGyver on the big screen (New Line). My guess is that the Swiss Army company will have their marketing team plugging their newest products as much as possible.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Above the line

I still sit incredulous at the sheer brilliance and importance of a film composer. Not only does the music brand the film, but it can transport, manipulate, and coax even the most jaded of listeners.

A few of the most sought after and acclaimed composers in the past and present that are worth looking out for...

John Williams. The juggernaut film composer who has created some of the most recognizable and loved film scores in Hollywood. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman, Home Alone, and Harry Potter to mention a few.

Franz Waxman. Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun, The Philadelphia Story, Rear Window

Bernard Herrmann. Psycho, North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver, The Twilight Zone, The Day the Earth Stood Still (original)

Alfred Newman. All About Eve, Anastasia, The King and I, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Wuthering Heights

Hans Zimmer. Rain Man, The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Night, Frost/Nixon, The Thin Red Line

Howard Shore. Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Ed Wood, Silence of the Lambs, Dead Ringers, The Fly, Seven, Philadelphia, Big

Friday, November 13, 2009

up and coming

The Tim Burton exhibit will begin in New York's MOMA!
A fantastic collection of his drawings, concepts, paintings, and storyboards.
The exhibit begins November 22, 2009 - April 26, 2010

Tim Burton exhibit

Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art....
April 27, 2010–August 1, 2010
Featuring 150 of his drawings, paintings, ceramics, and sculptures.

Monday, November 9, 2009

poopers

If you are ever misfortunate enough to be pooped on by an overhead bird you'll know it's a pain to wash out of clothing. Commonly known as a good omen, the white splatter isn't much better than stepping into gum, dog poop, or vomit. If you prefer to keep this superstition alive, it's best to be accurate. Not only must you be pooped on in the right spot (namely the right shoulder) but even the type of bird is significant.
A crow (not a good day), a pigeon (horrible day), a vulture (you must be one of the most unfortunately suckers because that bird is huge), and an owl (what are the chances of that?)means good luck.

Even more useful information, how to get the goop off your favorite shirt.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fires, floods, and the acts of God

All it takes is one slip up, one day a person is tired, stressed, exhausted or distracted and they will lose everything. Other times it's not even your fault. Unfortunately I have been in a building that burned down. In times like these you hopefully have friends or family to stay with.

Here are a few things to do after you know everyone is safe and sound but none of your things are.

1. Call the insurance company to get in touch with your adjuster.
2. Take photos, OF EVERYTHING! All damage. You'll need proof of claims.
3. Book a hotel room or stay at a relative's place for the week.
4. Keep all receipts from then on. So long as you're insured, you will be partially covered for all expenses.
5. Cancel/put on hold your phone service, cable etc.. with the exception of electricity for repairs (unless it's futile). If you can't use the service, why pay for it?
6. Keep your cellphone on you at all times because you'll get called for this, that and another.
7. Call your work, you probably can't come in the next day since you'll be busy with the emergency pack out.
8. Look for a furnished unit/condo asap because your home many not be livable for quite sometime. Insurance usually only covers so much (you must check with your adjuster), and you don't want a hotel bill eating into your budget.
9. If you have a laptop take it with you to the hotel, or family/friends place (since you will likely need to surf the web for info). If you are staying at a hotel, be sure to sign up for any point system, by the end of the stay it could mean a few free meals etc..
10. If you have a Swiss army knife or multi-tool take it with you, it will save hours of frustration spent hunting through your mountain of boxes.
11. Nothing is more painful than losing old photos, if you have a few that are salvageable remember that they can only be separated when wet. Don't try to peel them apart when dry, a trick I was told by a restoration company employee.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poirot and his little grey cells

Rumour has it that ITV will produce four upcoming Poirot episodes!

The four novels turned feature length films will be: The Clocks, Three Act Tragedy, Hallowe'en Party and finishing with a bang, Murder on the Orient Express. Hopefully they will weave Hastings back into one of the stories since he will be returning later in the Big Four and especially Curtain. I'm surprised I don't see Zoƫ Wanamaker (Ariadne Oliver) listed as a cast member in Hallowe'en Party... hope it's an error.

Foyle's War, Poirot, and The Marple series have always drawn an impressive pool of talent, many thespians who eventually earn their starring roles across the pond.

Here are few of note:

Poirot
Hickory Dickory Dock - Damian Lewis (Life, Band of Brothers)
Dead Man's Mirror - Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park, Tudors)
Sad Cypress - Paul McGann (Withnail and I, Doctor Who)
Death on the Nile - Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria)
After the Funeral - Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, Hunger)

Foyle's War
The German Woman - Rosamund Pike (Pride and Prejudice, James Bond)
The German Woman - James McAvoy (Atonement, Wanted, The Last King of Scotland)
War Games - Emily Blunt (see above)
Enemy Fire - Simon Woods (Rome, Pride and Prejudice)

Marple
4:50 from Paddington - John Hannah (The Mummy, Sliding Doors, Four Weddings and Funeral)
By the Pricking of My Thumbs - Greta Scacchi (Emma, Rasputin)
A Murder is Announced - Sienna Guillory (Inkheart, Eragon)
A Murder is Announced - Matthew Goode (Watchmen, Brideshead Revisited)
The Moving Finger - James D'Arcy (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Rebel Heart)
Nemesis - Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Withnail and I, The Player, Henry & June)
They Do It with Mirrors - Emma Griffiths Malin (House of Boys, The Forsyte Saga: To Let)
Why didn't they Ask Evans - Natalie Dormer (Tudors)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The magic bullet

Recycled tricks? To this day, people will fall into the trap of trying to buy an easy and quick way to solve their problems.

Have a kid that's out of control and unmanageable? Instead of reconsidering their diet, exercise, schooling, family life or health issues, many parents opt for the stress free solution of a pill. In 1900, a medication called Pepsin Anodyne, claimed to be able to pacify the most 'fretful child'. Invented by Dr. J.C. Faley, it contained 2.5 grains of chloral hydrate not to mention 0.1 grain of sulphate of morphine. Sound familiar? Our modern world has created a vast and profitable industry that claim similar remedies, Ritalin being one of the most popular drugs to date.

Hosletter's Celebrated Stomach Bitters was created as an anti-bilious remedy for colic constipation, a medication that comprised of 47% alcohol (later reduced to 25% after the Pure Food and Drug act 1907). Not to be out done, our modern society offers plenty of over the counter medications, all because we prefer to eat what we shouldn't rather than cutting back.

The most comical one I discovered was Plantoxine (sounds pretty medical doesn't it?), a medication that claimed to correct abnormalities of the system which create susceptibility to plant pollen, la grippe, chronic malarial disease and Hayfever. What was it made of? 100% milk sugar.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The modern pyramid

The recent discovery of the multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme debacle is nothing short of spectacular. With our confidence shaken in all financial institutions where does that leave us?

History repeats itself, as always
I don't know if the 90s was the fertile testing era for a resurgence in the practice, but I do know many people were approached, scammed, and unwitting accomplices, in the get-rich-quick money pyramids. It's an old scam, (even described in a Charles Dickens novel) named after Charles Ponzi who fleeced America of so much money that his name is now synonymous with the crime.
I was first approached with the scheme at the age of twelve by an unsuspecting soul who tried to sell me the idea. Fortunately being both broke and skeptical, I never joined the person who had been artfully swindled of their four hundred dollars. With new laws replacing outdated judicial systems of the past, white collar hucksters will no longer be dealt with a light hand (or so they say).

Monday, November 2, 2009

It definitely ain't Potter

A few of my friends have children (about 10 yrs old) who never caught onto the Harry Potter craze but were anxious to spark their interest in reading. Warming them up with a few choice flicks (Avatar the Last Airbender, Spirited Away, Princess Bride), they were willing to take the plunge and try a few books that I recommended. The funny result was that the parents enjoyed the novels as much as their kids did.

Here's a few that caught their attention that stray from the Harry Potter route:

The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix
(Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
(The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate)

I was depressed to discover that talks and progress of a film adaptation of The Amulet of Samarkand has sputtered to a resounding halt after the early passing of acclaimed filmmakers Sidney Pollack and Anthony Minghella. I still wonder if this film will be picked up again, or if any studio will attempt The Abhorsen series.