10 October 2010

Do It To It, Dammit!

I should have known this would happen; I make a To-Do list and all it makes me want "to do" is anything but what's on the damned To-Do list. In my defense, some of the journal entries proposed are technically "here" on Blogger, just in draft form. So, they aren't NOT being worked on. The only one that may be abandoned is a review of Jim Starlin's Cosmic Odyssey, a mini-series featuring Jack Kirby's New Gods with art by the indomitable Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy. I may still make the accompanying primer video giving an historical overview of Jack Kirby's The New Gods. In keeping with my desire to write reviews of items that don't fit proper categories or are otherwise heavily-marginalized, the video would discuss how originally Kirby's Fourth World series of monthly comics were never meant to be part of the DC Universe proper. That is, we'd never see crossovers with or guest appearances by DC denizens such as Superman or Batman. Tragically, though, the books would be abruptly canceled (the notably ironic exception being Mister Miracle, Super Escape Artist) and many of the characters would be scattered to the winds, settling upon the larger DC Universe in an oddly intriguing kind of "separate, yet joined" status. There's a long-running tradition of superheroes (or other comic book characters) that lack the following to sustain their own title, but are popular enough that guest appearances in other books meet with little to no dissent or disinterest.
As for Cosmic Odyssey, I don't think I'll be reviewing it simply because it's a tad on the unremarkable side. It was far from disappointing; with Starlin's fearless approach to storytelling and Mignola's dramatic lighting and shading, it truly is a match made in heaven, one that I wish would have been repeated prior to Starlin's solo project The Death of the New Gods. Suffice it to say, if Starlin and Mignola do work together again, it won't be on The Fourth World.

Changing gears to old business, there's no update on Jolicloud's "Windows Refund" program as they've yet to answer my inquiry and I've found no other information on it specifically. There was, however, something tangentially related: an article sourcing the Novell Boycott's information about Dell's "Windows Tax Credit." I won't go into too much detail because it's actually going to help me round out the story regarding Jolicloud's refund program, but the long and short of the matter is that Microsoft has essentially pressured Dell into selling PCs with Windows pre-installed exclusively, with prices actually favoring Windows-equipped PCs versus ones with a Linux OS on it.

In the broader scheme of things, there have been a few minor changes to the format of Decay-Proof Record Scroll. I've overcome my fear of tinkering with CSS or, for that matter, any HTML document I didn't write from the ground up myself, and proceeded to tweak the template I selected when I first opened this Blogger account. While I do like the format overall, a few minor problems came up that were fast becoming persistent nuisances, chief among them the width of the main text column. For text, it wasn't an issue, and admittedly seemed to help the words flow, being neither an intimidating, monolithic wall of text nor a thin, whispy news ticker. For videos, however, it turned problematic. Even with videos in the 1.33:1 ratio, the results of refitting them to fit inside the column were less than satisfactory, with videos in 16:9 even more so. Granted, I remember the days when 160 x 120 was the norm and formats like 320 x 240 were "cinematic," but after more than ten years following those days, even I don't feel regret thumbing my nose at videos smaller than 320 x 240. Put simply, it's been long enough, we can expect more. The highest quality Youtube HD video may still only just hold a candle to a DVD, but they're still leaps and bounds above the Cinepak cut-scenes of the early CD-ROM era.

I've also added a Twitter module, which probably gets more updates than any other site I frequent. Then again, that's supposed to be the appeal of Twitter, that you can update it from practically anywhere with any reasonably-equipped electronic device, mobile or otherwise. In a sense, it's what I've always wanted from a weblog tool, a journal anyone can see that's as accessible to me as pen and paper.

Speaking of which, I've also removed Atop the 4th Wall from the Better Reads module. Don't get me wrong, I still watch each new update and hold no ill will against it, it's just that Better Reads seems better suited for weblogs that update irregularly as opposed to AT4W's "Every Monday" model. It also lets me give top billing to my friend Karla Thomas' new Tumblr page Bloggity Blog, which sadly doesn't seem to get half as many followers as her original DeviantART page. It's understandable as, typically, people who "live" on a particular site don't like to be told to go "somewhere else," even if it's only for a brief visit. This is probably the worst part of the whole "Web 2.0" side of the internet; no longer one vast, open country, but a scattering of walled city-states that insist on their own self-sufficiency.
It reminds me of something my brother told me when he went to Canada. On the plane, the in-flight magazine was full of ads promoting tourism in countries all over the world, including Poland and Japan. At first, he didn't think much of it until, when he landed and got settled in, he still kept seeing the same foreign travel ads all over, with the same ubiquity there that "What happens in Vegas..." has in the States. He said it really put the concept of "international" in perspective, noting how the US seems to have this "we have everything right here" mentality when it comes to tourism. It's genuinely sad that we went from services like Geocities to ones like MySpace; sure, it makes networking far easier, but it would seem to do so at the cost of diversity. Perhaps it's just an inevitable social phenomenon.

Last update: I'm also working on a short story, and hopefully I haven't jeopardized its completion by mentioning it here. Like the act of making the To-Do list, I find the less I spend talking about something is more time I can spend doing something, hence not displaying the list here. As such, I'm not going to delve into the plot apart from little hints I've divulged on my Twitter feed, such as doing research on Orbital Resonance despite not technically being a sci-fi story.

Now, we move onward to more regular updates, and less updates about updates.
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