ratcreature: RatCreature is molested by tentacles. (tentacles)
So, I watched A Dangerous Method earlier this evening, and the bottom line is that it's not particularly awesome, but I don't regret having spent €7 to see it, even though I couldn't find a non-dubbed showing in my city.

further comments, cut to be on the safe side spoiler-wise )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Daredevil (daredevil)
quick, and not all that spoilery opinion, just cut to be safe )

Unrelated, I just have to gripe about the weather a bit. Admittedly it is far, far better than a heat wave, because even moderate heat will make me truly miserable, but I would not mind if the highs weren't quite *this* low. Seriously, 14°C with rain? Couldn't it be a sunny 22°C? *grump*
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spock (trek)
I went to see the new Star Trek movie last night: mostly squee )

So is there any fannish infrastructure for the rebooted Star Trek universe yet? Communities, newsletters, that kind of thing?
ratcreature: RatCreature as vampire (vampire)
I've just finished reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I picked it up because I was looking for something to read in the library, and I recognized the title because a couple of people on my f-list had mentioned the series. Also I have a soft spot for emo teenagers (I mean, I liked Roswell, and Everwood for example). Though I think this is the level of OTT teenage angst where even I get annoyed with the protagonists.

I'm actually not decided on what my final verdict on this book is. On the bright side, considering how little actually happens over the 500 pages, it is a fast and pleasant read. Not great with the language or anything, but it kept me reading well enough. Even though, like I said, almost nothing really happens. Granted, the print wasn't small and there was good amount of white space so you could probably have fit it on fewer pages but still. Barely any action and the heroine/POV character Bella tends to faint through it, so we miss it. Instead we get teen angst (more or less variations on "wah, he's so much more beautiful and graceful than ugly, clumsy me! how could he possibly like me? *sob*") and crying.

And as you might have gathered from my previous paragraph I wasn't that thrilled with the narrator Bella, and Edward -- the gorgeous vampire who likes Bella because she smells tasty, and more or less seems to angst over not eating her, while she angst over him being out of her league -- frequently annoyed me as well.

And yet I'm considering whether to read the sequel, so I can't honestly say that I disliked it. >.<

It's baffling.
ratcreature: Who needs talent? Enthusiasm is fun!  (talent/enthusiasm)
A couple of weeks ago I borrowed Drawing and Painting Fantasy Beasts by Kevin Walker from my library (or rather the German edition of this), and I found it quite useful and interesting overall. Basically it's just a bunch fantasy creatures drawn as examples, but each creature comes with about four pages of step by step process description of the techniques used, and the different sketches and stages that went into the final work.

Initially I got it because I had never painted with acrylics, but generally found hobby painting books about acrylics my library had rather useless and boring. I mean, it's not that painting with some new medium was like repairing a motorcycle or any of the other things for which you really need either direct instruction or a book rather than just muddling along, and there's only so much variation to the theme of "you put color pigment on a surface" anyway, but this book has a neat introduction section that just lists different techniques with a little picture of how it looks, which makes it easier to try things than unguided trial and error and I'm lazy like that. Also I wanted to do dragons anyway, and this has examples of fantasy art done with acrylic paint (other techniques too) with step-by-step pictures, so that seemed like a good match.

The first part of the introduction is just the usual list of drawing and painting materials, and rather pointless. Frankly I wonder why nearly every such book feels the need to recap materials in a generic manner at the start. I mean, if you pick up a specialized drawing book you are most likely aware that there's a difference between watercolors, gouache, acrylics and oil paint, and that pastel chalk is different from oil pastels and so on. It's not that I haven't picked up some useful general info from skimming these chapters, because every now and then one will mention something I hadn't know of before, but overall I find them superfluous. Still, the list introducing the materials used is only four pages in this book, so it doesn't dwell, and then the introduction gets more specific with the neatly ordered examples of actually using the materials.

The main part is sections with fantasy beasts sorted by regions in which they supposedly live, and realized in a variety of techniques, both traditional and digital, though most involve acrylics or acrylics mixed with other media. I suspect that if you are already really experienced this book won't tell you much new, but since I've only started using acrylic paint it was useful to have illustrated examples like this for achieving different effects and textures, and getting ideas on what to do, though I have only tried a couple so far.

I've scanned a couple of pages to give you an idea of the way the process descriptions and illustrations look like, though obviously if you don't speak German the text of these scans that explain what was done in each step won't do much for you.
a few example pages behind the cut )
ratcreature: Like a spork between the eyes. (spork)
So I got The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards out of the library, because of my vague intention to draw more this year, and look for exercise ideas. Well, actually I got the German translation which doesn't have anything about brain sides in the title (and I wouldn't have borrowed it if it had, frankly).

Anyway, my overall impression can be summed up as: "Wow, that's a lot of pseudo-scientific 'wawawa wawa' (you know, like the adults go in the Peanuts?) for a couple of simple drawing exercises." Seriously, I skipped most of the endless and idiotic "brain modes" talk (or whatever it's called in the original) about supposedly "tricking" your brain into something to browse for the actual drawing stuff, and it still grated on me.

Some of the exercises sounded okay for drawing practice, but you could have probably cut about 200 pages of mumbo-jumbo from the total 300 pages without loosing any significant drawing content.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Sheppard in the control chair (sheppard)
Yay, the Atlantis season opener aired!

spoilers for SGA 4x01 Adrift )
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
I watched the pilot of Journeyman and cut for spoilers )

I also gave Chuck a try, but I think I rather rewatch Jake 2.0 (what little there is of that series before they cancelled it), if I want a premise like that than this series.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
So, I still haven't progressed into following the current DC main continuity, but I've read the first eight issues of Batman Confidential. The art is kind of mediocre -- both art teams actually, they switched teams when the new storyline started in issue #7 -- but not really bad. I think mostly it bothers me that it looks, um, squirrelly? Somehow there isn't really a clean line, or maybe it's that the shadows aren't really mood setting, I just rarely like that kind of style in comics but favor either a "cleaner" look or something that has a really distinct style otherwise.

Like many other Batman (mini-)series not tying directly into the current timeline it is also set in the ever more crowded early days of Batman's career, before he was joined by a Robin, so it is just him, Alfred and Gordon. I don't really have a problem with that, at least not as long as Ican turn off the obsessive inner comic geek who wants to figure out how all this could possibly fit. It's not as if I don't know that comic timelines are kind of hopeless, but obviously that never stops a fan from wanting to try...

Anyway, the first story, Rules of Engagement, in issues #1-6 (written by Andy Diggle, pencils by Whilce Portacio, inks by Richard Friend), deals with Bruce/Batman, as well as Wayne Enterprises, facing off against Luthor and his company. The story is fairly action heavy, but the action is rather fun not pointless, like this weird endless snowmobile chase I lamented about in the R'as Al Ghul Year One. The main thing I don't get is how Superman could not make an appearance in this scenario, and without any mention or explanation too. Still, other than that I enjoyed it, and I kind of like stories with Wayne Enterprises and Bruce and Lucius Fox working together in particular. Actually if it was for me Lucius could have had a bigger part. And well, there are battle robots, which counts as a plus for me. (What? I like Batman fighting robots...)

The current story, Lovers & Madmen (written by Michel Green, pencils by Denys Cowen, inks by John Floyd), is apparently another Joker origin, though so far he isn't the Joker yet. On principle I'm kind of wary of such Joker stories, but so far it is decent. The scenes with Bruce and Alfred are a lot of fun, and I like the crime spree plot okay so far. I'm a bit dubious about the girlfriend plot, though. I didn't like the "mental healing through sex" vibes I got -- you know, Bruce feeling "at peace" after he sleeps with her described in ways that imply more than that getting laid is good against insomnia. And it looks like she's going to be the damsel in distress next issue, and I half expect her to end up dead for his angst. Also, these "the blight of drugs in Gotham" plots always are somewhat cringe-worthy. Still, so far the fun bits outweigh the rest.

I've also read the first five issues of Superman Confidential, an obvious choice since I'm a Tim Sale fan, but I figure I wait talking about these until the first story ends in the next issue.
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
Well, since I won't get my copy of DH until tomorrow morning, and it's not like I could randomly surf to pass time lest I ruin my unspoilt state this late, I've been reading another comic:

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1-4 (written and drawn by Jeff Smith)

This is the first Captain Marvel comic I've read. I've come across the character a couple of times in ensemble stories (like in the Justice limited series), but in general I'm not that much into the magic DC characters. However I really like Jeff Smith's work (in case you couldn't tell from my pseud *g*), so I got the series because of that.

Since I had no clue about the character beyond that he says "Shazam!" and then transforms, it was fortunate that this mini-series retells the origin story (or maybe retcons it? I've no idea whether this is in continuity or not). So I can't tell how this story would come across for long time fans of the character, but I found it was quite a lot of fun, in an entertaining, angst-free adventure story way.

I mean, it's not heavy on any mythology for the character, so after reading it I still don't know why there's some wizard bestowing powers from gods to a boy, or what kind of entity this Captain Marvel is. Before reading this I had always thought that Captain Marvel was Billy, just with added powers, but apparently he is something else and just uses Billy as a host. Kind of like a Tok'ra maybe. I also still don't know why Billy and Mary were split up or any kind of background. But I didn't really care. The comic worked much like a children's book that way, that is there isn't any attempt to reconcile it with more realist constraints.

Basically I liked the art, the transformed monsters where fun, there was a talking tiger, and the Dr. Sivana guy was hilarious.

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