July 2002 Archives

Talk to the Animals

The Cute Little Red-Haired Girlfriend (CLRHG) and I saw Babe: Pig in the City on DVD this weekend. The film was darker than either of us expected, although I remember the original Babe being a bit on the macabre side, too, what with the whole "about-to-be-eaten-by-humans" theme. This same theme also loomed large in the animated pics The Little Mermaid and Chicken Run. I suppose it is cousin to the "about-to-be-made-into-coats" theme that energizes "101 Dalmations," and more distantly related to the "about-to-be-target practice" theme of Bambi. I sense a future book topic here.
Babe is famous for the technology that was developed to make the animals' mouths move in a realistic manner. I've always been somewhat in awe of the way animated films represent human speech through a limited palette of facial expressions. It seems even more incredible in stop-action animation, where numerous heads or mouths are fabricated and then interchanged during filming. Yesterday I ran across a low-tech, Flash version of mouth-moving animation that I found particularly enjoyable the other day: I recommend it to you.

Henry Jenkins on gaming

Henry Jenkins, who I admire for many reasons, including his views on fan fiction, talks to The Gaurdian about video games as part of the general festivities around the Barbican's Game On exhibit. He does a good job at discussing the significance of video games while recontextualizing the familiar video-games-are-terrible-because-they're-violent argument. As a counterexample, he mentions the role of mourning in The Sims as a way that players can come to terms with game violence and its consequences. Via the very informative pop-up toaster.

Flash art machine

Discovered this incredible Flash sequential art machine while stumbling around the many good things at Portage. An excellent time waster!

Dinosaur illustration

I just finished reading the first book in James Gurney's "Dinotopia" series, which I was motivated to read after watching the ABC MEGA-series earlier this year. I found the TV series interesting in that a) I could never figure out what exactly distinguished a MEGA-series from a mini-series and b) despite a horrendous storyline, an overall high cheese factor, and truly abominable acting, I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 days of the highly-rated series.
And I plan to watch the continuing series planned for the fall. Lesson learned: people will flock to anything with dinosaurs in it. Perhaps the Dow Jones should consider changing its name to the Velociraptor Stock Exchange.
James Gurney's homespun web site--as opposed to the Flash-enabled ABC web site--held a few unexpected pieces of information. I was unaware, for example, that there is currently an exhibit of his work going on at the Smithsonian. I also didn't realize that he was the artist behind the post office's series of dinosaur stamps from a few years ago, a truly admirable piece of practical sequential art.
Tangentially related--I recently visited the Los Angeles Zoo and by happenstance managed to see several animals much closer than I had ever seen them before: rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and crocodile. By virtue of our closeness to the animals, my girlfriend and I were able to observe how much the thick, leathery hides of these creatures reminded us of dinosaur skin. It occurred to me later that it was only because of movies like "Dinotopia" and the "Jurrasic Park" series--which show ostensibly realistic images of flesh-and-blood dinosaurs--that we were able to make this comparison.

My Blogchalk

Watch me jump on this bandwagon. Google! DayPop! This is my blogchalk: English, United States, Los Angeles, Palms, Teresa, Female, 36-40!

Doraemon exhibit

In the latest issue of Netsurfer Robotics I found news of an art exhibit inspired by the comics/cartoon character Doraemon, a robot cat. The art exhibit was a bit mystifiying, but I found a great Doraemon fan page, with a history of the character and incredibly cute wallpapers for downloading.

Magic Cards online

red magic card with veteran orcGameSpy has a review of Magic: The Gathering Online that's making me nostalgic for the days when I played this game every week. I was mainly attracted by the art of the cards, although I enjoy strategy games generally and, of course, the community that formed around Magic made it fun as well. One of the hassles of Magic was creating a deck, a process that seems to be made infintely easier with the aid of an online interface. The main problem with the online version that the reviews report is a problem it inherited from the offline version. The mechanics of the game itself encourage you to spend more and more on the game as you try to collect more powerful cards in order to stay competitive.
Speaking of spending more and more, it was revealed today that Sony is finally bringing EverQuest to the Mac. It's OS X only--like so many things these days!--so I can't sign on to EverCrack, which is probably a good thing.

New domain

We are the .org! Resistence is futile!
Welcome to the new home of In Sequence. Thank you for bearing with us as we get everything in working order.

Comics/game merger

I saw on Pop Culture Junk Mail a reference to a forthcoming X-Box game called XIII that seemed worth checking out--but I was surprised when I clicked through and learned that the game title was being billed as an "interactive graphic novel." It turns out the game is based on a comic by Belgian artist Jean van Hamme. I know nothing about him or the work, but there appear to be copious resources available at various fan sites--in French however.

Breasts in Comics

Sequential Tart has an article out on How to Draw Breasts in comics, in which the author asks, "if you were trying to fight the forces of evil, wouldn't you want level nipples?" I found the story through Neilalien's levelheaded commentary on the issue. I thought I would also add a few thoughts of my own:
For the benefit of those comic readers who may not have access to this sort of information, the Champion sports bra--sometimes lovingly refered to as the "uniboob"--is the undisputed bra leader for the active female. I know of only one instance where it is not sufficient to the task, and that is in the case of fencing, where a fiberglass bra is needed. I actually quit fencing as a teenager because I could not face the ignominy of being fitted for a fiberglass bra. But back to the point: shouldn't there be at least one superheroine with a Champion sports bra?
Next, the Sequential Tart article makes the point that natural breasts are not attached to the body like two balls attached to a board. While there was once a time when we could assuredly make distinctions between natural and fake breasts, we are now so deep into the plastic surgery era that I'm not sure it makes sense anymore to insist on "the natural." It seems statistically probable that at least some superheroines would have implants.
Finally, just as Batman created his utility belt, I could see a stacked superheroine creating some sort of superbra technology. Once, while at a Star Trek convention, I heard Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) discuss the special bra constructed for her by the costumers at Paramount. This 24th century foundation was apparently an architectural miracle that lifted and separated even more than the Wonderbra. Other female actors at Paramount got wind of it and everyone started clamoring for this bra.

More Sims Expansions needed

I discovered today via pop-up toaster that there's a new Sims expansion pack coming out called "The Sims Unleashed." The official EA site has more details and screen shots. The basic idea, however, seems to be: pets. Now your Sims can have pets, you can play with them outdoors in new garden environments, and there will now be a new veterinarian career track. Of course, this is a major break-through for lesbian Sims, because one must really strain to create a realistic lesbian household without dogs and cats.
I was also pleased to read about some of the other careers added, especially the option to run away and join the circus. I have long felt constrained by the Sims emphasis on white, middle-class professions, which I feel has hampered me in my efforts to create believable chicano/a Sims characters--or at least not chicanos like in my family. I could use, for example, a hairdresser and a gardener career track. I also need some medium-toned skins with cool tatoos and a grandma NPC that sits around on the couch watching TV all day and occasionally hits people with a wooden spoon.

Tennis video game dream

I was cruising the video games yesterday and saw that Sega Sports Tennis 2K2 is finally out. It's getting good reviews, too. It always cracks me up how the established gaming magazines can't seem to figure out what would attract more women to video games. More decent women's sports titles might be a good (not to mention easy) place to start--and I'm not just speaking for lesbian nation when I say that. There's that whole girls soccer generation, and all those harried moms with GameBoys.
Actually, I'm a bit disappointed that this tennis game debuts at a time when women's tennis is getting a reputation for being glam--if they really wanted to get the dyke audience they'd have to turn the clock back a few years and include Navratilova, King, and Sabatini. Maybe put in a few locker room scenes--something with Chris Everett Lloyd would be good, at least in my book. Talk about a storyline!

Meet the Foo-Foos

Please meet another one of my Sims couples: Percy and Priscilla Foo-Foo. The Foo-Foos were the very first Sims couple I created, and thus are very close to my heart. They also suffered much as a result of my early ignorance as to how to interact with the Sims, which has also endeared them to me. Priscilla in particular went through a deep depression, and for a while the Foo-Foo marriage was on the skids. Thankfully, I was able to consult my sister--my own private game guru--who suggested moving them to a new house as a way to give them a fresh start.
Since those dark days, its been nothing but up, up, up for the Foo-Foos. They are extremely successful in their careers and have moved four times to bigger and better locales. Percy is on the "life of crime" career track and, as is true in the real world, in the Sims world crime pays very well. Here you see the Foo-Foos with one of their favorite material goods, their beloved espresso machine.
As my regular readers will immediately know from my previous writings, the Foo-Foos live in a neighborhood largely composed of gay and lesbian couples. Though you would not guess it from his name, Percy Foo-Foo is a very assured, very masculine personality and has no problem handling the occasional admiring glance or friendly hug from his gay male neighbors. Like many in the underworld, Percy is a snappy dresser and take pains over his appearance. He is also typical of many manly-men I have known in that he appears to prefer the company of butch dykes, and can often be found shooting the shit with Sim Xena Amphipolous or sharing a joke with Sim Gertrude Stein.
Initially, Priscilla seemed to be a bit of a fag hag. She would visit Sim Peter and Joe Jennings house for hours on end--but I soon realized she seemed unaware of their relationship. You should have seen the puzzled look on her face when she walked into their bedroom for the first time and saw a single queen-sized bed. After Priscilla's realization at the Jennings house, I noticed a change in her behavior. Suddenly she couldn't spend enough time with Sim Gabrielle Amphipolous. (Gabrielle and her partner Xena are both such dykes--they love sports and are always shooting hoops or playing pool together.) Anyway, Priscilla is on the sports career track so she and Gabrielle are constantly talking about sports; here you can see they are talking about women's tennis. Do I need to spell this out further? One day Priscilla was flirting so much with Gabrielle that eventually Sim Xena Amphipolous marched right over and slapped Priscilla across the face.
Of course, the drama isn't all being generated by Priscilla. True, she does hang around with a bunch of dykes in her spare time--but would you look at the predatory glance Sim Kathryn Janeway is giving her here? She's staring right at her ass. This sort of thing happens all the time to Priscilla. So I have my doubts about the Foo-Foo's long term stability, especially with Percy working at night all the time.
Incidentally, I wanted to mention some Sims download sites I've discovered recently. Mintha's Sim Garden has some extraordinary objects in unusual decorating modes such as Knotty Pine Country Style, Fantasy Geek Aesthetic, and Southwestern Kitsch. I especially admire her collection "Beaver Kitchen."
I also recently discovered the incredible Sleepy Hollow Sims, home to an array of extremely high quality items that will delight and fascinate. I was stunned by the selection of themed houses on display, which include the swamp estate of a voodoo high priestess, a gypsy encampment, and an insane asylum, complete with pill trays, padded rooms, and a secured outdoor seating area.

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