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.