Captain Adam Barnard’s Planet Harvey

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

I’ve got a couple of cheap pulp novels that have to do with my name. The first is Donald Barr Chidsey’s Captain Adam:

The history of an audacious young seaman from the American colonies who duelled and prayed and sinned his way to magnificent adventure on the lawless seas of the early 18th century!

The cover [not this one, but like it] has a tall skinny dude with a sword on it and a hot redhead who is chained to the deck of a sailing ship. I picked that one up from the [now closed] Antiques and Curios store that was just down the street from me.

Another one, picked up from Mac’s Backs, is John Boyd’s Barnard’s Planet, which happens to be a really really really shitty science fiction novel. The only good parts are quotes from better writers. I’ll probably try reading Captain Adam after I finish this one.

One of these days I’ll find a cheesy book with Harvey in the title worth completing the collection.

Or Whatever

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

I’ve noticed that a typical Cleveland resident often ends statements with the particulate phrase “or whatever.” Semantically it seems to be the equivalent in function as “I guess”, a sort of simultaneous space-​filler and dismissive qualifier; an intentional addition so that the speaker feels that he or she isn’t being overconfident in their statement or bearing. I noticed this habit creeping into my speech and had to put a stop to it. I might not always be as concise as possible, or enunciate clearly, but I think my speech is pretty cruftless in other wise. Now that I’ve mostly rid myself of this Cleveland-​specific tendency, or whatever, I’ve started noticing it more and more often in other people’s usage. This ability of mine, almost a confirmation bias, only really annoys me in music, as there are certain songs that I’ll notice a tiny piece of sampled production, and then can never merge it back into the soundscape afterward, or whatever.

Sawedoff Scattergun

Monday, 26 February 2007

I think the Dave’s in Ohio City must’ve had its High Life license revoked because the cooler was scoured bare of that shit.

I almost never visit BFD anymore because the conversation reminds me of Feagler and Friends. It has been that way for months now.

The most difficult part of working in web and graphic design so far seems to be a communication problem that creates a tension between design and usability. The difficulty seems to lie in the fact that most clients have a very generalized idea of what they want in a site and this is almost always a design-​oriented idea. Yet they usually lack the vocabulary to express their idea in a way that a design team can understand. From my end it sometimes feels like a client thinks they are the designer and we just do the work, especially when we keep getting sent back to the drawing board due to ineffective communication and the ultimate design is both poor and unusable. In the end this doesn’t just hurt the client-​creative relationship, but also affects those the client wishes to communicate to. I’m sure this is a common occurrence in many professions, when a layperson calls shots that make no sense to the technical implementer. Drives me bonkers when it results in a completely unusable website though. Actually, I’ve no problem making a craptacular piece of work if I’m sure that the client actually understands that there are other ways of doing it that would be better in both design and usability. After all, they’re the one paying for it.

My Paste magazine subscription is whacked out. I got March’s issue before February’s and after I contacted them [a great customer service response by the way] I’ve received two February issues. They just switched from bimonthly to monthly so I bet that is what happened.

Now that the Academy Awards are over AMC is going to go back to showing High Plains Drifter 247 again. I wish I had TCM or IFC instead. UPDATE: HOLY SHIT HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER IS ON AMC RIGHT NOW.

My freezer is full of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and pork shoulders.

I’ve put on 5 pounds in the last 2 days. Water weight I’m sure.

I’m going to go to the VTR tomorrow for a couple of Bourbon Daisies and some sushi. I’ll be there around 5pm.


Sunday, 25 February 2007

I think I’m finally fully recovered. It only cost me ten pounds, a few nights’ sleep and three rolls of toilet paper. Now I’m trying to get back into a routine. I wonder how this has messed up my workout schedule. I’ll figure that out tomorrow. I’m having a winter barbecue next Saturday so I’ve got plenty of preparation to do for that, including a full slash and burn of my apartment, which has rarely been filthier. My reading has really piled up as well. I’ve got two magazines, four books of poetry and that book of Agee film criticism to go through, as well as a couple of rough draft poems [one of which was posted prematurely] to finish.

Instead of doing any of that, I’ve spent the day watching shitty science fiction movies like The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Buh.

The Killers

Thursday, 22 February 2007

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #176: Robert Siodmak’s The Killers; Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Killers; Don Siegal’s The Killers.

Here’s another example where The Criterion folks are in a position to provide a unique cinematic experience. In addition to Robert Siodmak’s classic noir, they’ve also provided Andrei Tarkovsky’s first student film and Don Siegal’s made-​for-​TV but never aired adaptation; all of the Ernest Hemingway short story The Killers.


Siodmak’s treatment is still the best of the three. The dialogue is sharper, the production values less over-​wrought, the acting of a higher quality than anything Don Siegal might gotten in his remake. Even the non-​Hemingway portions of the film [most of it] are held to a higher standard and are a bit more palatable than Siegal’s made-​for-​TV 60s candy-​corn. That’s not to say that Siegal’s version is a complete loss, but without Clu Gulager as a hitman and about two interesting shots it would have been absolutely terrible.


Tarkovsky’s short is almost word-​for-​word to the Hemingway story and it has early sparks of his distinct style. The much slower pace of this short gives a much richer taste to the scenario and much more space for thought about the impulses which have made this story so resonant to so many folks. As great as Siodmak’s adaptation is, the post-​Hemingway dialogue lacks the punch of the diner’s hitmen jargon. While Siegal’s film is the same in essentials, the different particulars make it a bit more bleak since we follow the action through the subjectivity of the hitmen throughout. Since they’re evil of course they can’t be allowed to make it through the film alive. An inevitability obvious from the start. I haven’t said much about the content of the films themselves, so I’ll just leave it at saying, watch the Siodmak version and if you like Clu Gulager, you’ll probably be able to sit through Siegal’s.


Criterion Essay by Jonathan Lethem [1946]
The Killers [1946] Film Site review.
YouTube Trailer of The Killers [1946]
Alexander Gordon on The Killers [1958] [He worked on the film as a fellow student with Tarkovsky]
Criterion Essay by Geoffrey O’Brien [1964]
YouTube Trailer of The Killers [1964]
• The Hemingway short story.


Tuesday, 20 February 2007

I hate having food poisoning.