Seventies again. Ah sweet October. Shorts and T-shirt, and if my blazing whiteness offends, turn away. I woke after some extremely unhappy dreams (note to self: do not spend an hour on a Black Dahlia murder-case website, then watch Carnivale. You’re just begging for dreams in which Wolfman Jack’s face appears on a circus poster, okay?)
and faced the litany of duty that comprises an average Monday: one column in the afternoon, then the Hugh Hewitt radio appearance, then another column, then a bleat. However will I manage?

Same as ever, I suppose. What, I want to go back to 1995, where my career consisted of one deadline a week? That’s a recipe for financial security. Rejoice in your labors, my child.

But as will be the rule for a while, Tues and Weds bleats will be scattered, messy things. To make matters more complex I’m doing some cleanup work on Interior Desecrators, which of course is due NOW. I was hacking away at it Sunday night, and I feared that I had lost that bilious groove that made the book work in the first place . . . but no. The time spent away from the idea served me well. This is going to be a good book. As will the three that come afterwards.

Okay, random notes -

* Dennis Miller is running for Senate. On Fark a few comments wondered why it was bad for Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, et al to have political opinions, but not Dennis Miller. Simple: first of all, it’s not wrong for Hollywood types to have political opinions; who ever said it was? There’s a difference between speaking to friendly entertainment reporters who aren’t particularly well-versed in matters political, or don’t want to challenge the twinkling stars in the Hollywood firmament. No one on the E! network will stop a celeb and ask whether they’re rethinking their opposition to the Afghan war based on reports of higher immunization rates among school children, or whether stories about the Taliban regrouping in the Pakistani badlands reinforces their opposition to the Afghan campaign. Your average Hollywood reporter wants to know what it was like to work with the Coen Brothers! and your average Hollywood reporter doesn’t even know that most people in America have no idea who the Coen Brothers are. Even if they saw Fargo in the theaters, and caught the last half on cable a week ago. There’s a difference between spouting off and running for elective office. The former is easy. The latter is a recipe for endless misery. I’d have a lot more respect for some of these celebs if they did run for office.

It says something that I learned about this on Fark. But I love Fark. It’s a notable forum, if only because you see entries like this:

Dear California Republicans,

Is this how bad it is for the you guys? You can't get a anyone elected here in California, your just going to celebrities as your useful idiots, while idiots like Pete Wilson really run things behind the scenes?

And the author is Wil Wheaton, of all peopel. Wesley Crusher from Star Trek. (In fairness: he later posted an apology for not previewing his comments. And I am the LAST guy to complane about mispellings.) Then I read a post f rom someone whose Fark nic is “Mr. Coffee Nerves,” and we all know where that comes from, eh?

* Brian, as you might expect, has been all over this tectonic shift in the Windows world - the Great Awakening that occurred when PC stalwarts finally found an Apple application they could use. (Besides QuickTime.)

It brought to mind the DVD program on my PC laptop. I tried it out at work the other day to watch the Ellroy documentary. (Incidentally, Ellroy goes off on Bill Clinton in this thing, and does so in front of a crowd at a bookstore. It’s quite remarkable. Half the crowd looks as if they’d had their smiles frozen by a blast of freon, then melted off with a blowtorch. And he uses language you usually don’t find in a bookstore, either. It’s not pretty, but that’s Ellroy. He does - not - care what you think about the things his instincts tell him.) Anyway. The DVD loads, and up comes this long toolbar full of buttons and wheels and knobs and tuners and readouts. It’s probably skinnable; I could probably get a Yu-Gi-Oh! version if I looked around. In its native form it follows the path ugly -> butt -> really. But hey, I’m here to watch the movie, not the controller.

There was a long vertical display on top, and if you can’t quite visualize what that means, then I’ve described it correctly. I thought it might be the volume. Whatever it was, it was touchy, for when I clicked in the display the program crashed. No movie. Start again. I figured out it was the progress bar for the movie itself, indicating where I was. I attempted to go back using this bar: crash. Okay.

So now I know one thing about the program: don’t touch that bar.

Apple’s DVD controller is a small brushed-aluminum panel with pause / play, back, forward, chapter, and volume. You cannot not know what it does. Additional features are in a drawer that rolls out when you click the edge of the controller. Apple seems to understand the perils of feature bloat, and they’re not alone. A year ago I bought a DVD player, and it came with two remotes. One had all the buttons you’d expect - angle selection, bit-rate monitor, etc. The other had all the buttons you really need.

Which one do you think sits in the drawer, and which one gets used?

* Kill Bill, con’t. I mentioned before that I’d gotten some rather . . . serrated responses, and that’s true; also got some replies that put more
thought into their arguments than I did, frankly. Because I just went off, and I get to do that here. This is the end of the night data-dump. Often I am just full of myself, and often just full of crap, and heaven forfend when I am full of both. But. My basic point still stands - we’re better off with fewer mass-murder epics that swaddle their dead coal-black hearts with dazzling Artistry, and QT makes my flesh crawl on an elemental level. But, on the other hand, if I really want to mount an impressive argument against the film, I should, you know, see it. So I will. I’ll report back when it hits the DVD shelf. (Apologies to the fellow who sent an URL to his site, in which he wrote a fine, chastening response; I read the letter at work on my office machine, and can’t fetch the URL here at home.)

* The font
for last week’s Bleat is: Caeldera. A reader wanted to know, so he could use it in his wedding invitation. Congrats! The font is here.

We’re entering Classic Arts & Crafts Font Season, incidentally. Fall and early winter always suggest those old fonts, just as spring and summer demand jaunty 50 retro fonts. The waning months of winter, and early March, usually make me resort to 60s and 70s fonts. Just watch.

* Speaking of Carnivale: it continues to impress, even though it’s being knocked about all over for its ponderousness, plotlessness, Nessnessness, etc. Last night’s episode was written by Ronald “D” Moore, the man who gave Deep Space Nine that extra-Trek quality that lifted it out of the usual PC handy-holdy muck. Moore’s Carnivale ep had one of the most haunting and despairing images I’ve ever seen on TV, and it was the sort of thing you’d never, ever see on broadcast. And it is profoundly religious. Not spiritual, to echo a distinction Dennis Prager talked about today, but religious. I don’t know how to say it, other than this: it is literally allegorical, and vice versa. Only on HBO, as HBO likes to say.

* Is there some code in the toddler gene that makes them mispronounce Spaghetti? Gnat tonight said that she loved spaghetti, then corrected herself and called is Basketti. You’d almost wonder if that’s the name of some minor, ineffectual demon who attempts to manifest himself through the mangled name of a pasta product.

She fought off the demon, and said the word correctly. “Thank you for the delicious dinner, daddee. May I be excused?”

And then she helped me clean the table and put away the dishes. She loved it; she felt important. She had a wonderful day - spent most of it at the park with mom and friends, then came home to help mom rake. This meant there was a pile of leaves that begged to be kicked. We heaped the leaves at the bottom of her slide, and she crashed into the pile over and over and over again.

“I’m swedding up,” she said, wiping the perspiration from her brow. “I’m gedding all sweddy.” A late October day; sunset; shirtsleeves and shorts, piles of leaves, working up a sweat - a grand boon, this. But what day on the right side of the dirt isn’t?

Back to work; more, or less, tomorrow.

* Oh - Speaking of Fark - I almost entered a Photoshop contest today, but had no site to host the picture. Well, I obviously have a site, but I don’t want to pay for 100,000 hits. The theme was “Photoshop an illustration of a band’s name.” My obvious example is here. Click on the name that gives away the joke. I did it in 15 minutes, and that includes GISing for the source material. (I’ll have to learn to move faster if I want to enter these contests in the future.) The skin tones are off, but at least I didn’t do the cheap & cheaty thing, and convert the image to B&W to make the skin tones more consistent.

Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More