Y: The Last Man

17 02 2008

Y: The Last Man, the masterpiece comic series by Brian K.Vaughan and Pia Guerra is done. How do I feel?

(I can’t hide clips, so unfortunately, there is one very key spoiler below. Don’t read on if you care about the end of it all).

I was just slightly less than satisfied with the ending. I’m glad it was left open, yet with a sense of ultimate resolution. I read a review from the Onion A.V. Club (is that national or by city?), and they effectively summed up my thought that there should have been more plot resolution in the flashbacks than was. I would like to have known exactly how the world accepted the return of men (via new Yoricks).

Overall, I think Vaughan did a great job conceptualizing a realistic response to such a population collapse, from doomsday naysayers, to political changes to exactly how anyone (women or men) would pull their heads out of their asses, work hard and make the best of such a situation.

You can’t tell me that if we found out we’d be out of oil in five years that we would be without sufficient energy ten years later. You change focus, bust out the big brains, conserve and labor to make things as easy as possible. But I digress…

I read the trade backs leading up to ~ issue 52 around a year ago, and I don’t remember everything so vividly, but one thing that I always remember is that Aussies owned the seas because they were the only ones whose country allowed women to command subs, thus they were the only ones who knew their shit on one. So sweet…

Anyone else have thoughts on the story as a whole?

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Stop to Smell the Pine Boughs

19 12 2007

A great piece by Garrison Keillor, from the International Herald Tribune :

Stop to Smell the Pine Boughs 
by Garrison Keillor

It was Christmas in the New York City subways last week, musicians heading off to play Christmas gigs, and in the Times Square station a wild-haired old man out of a George Price cartoon pounded out “Winter Wonderland” on an electric organ, a rhythm attachment going whompeta-whompeta-whompeta, and two crazed battery-powered Santas dancing the boogaloo, nearby a young trumpeter giving “Oh Holy Night” a good working over, and then the doors closed and we racketed uptown as an old codger came into the car and launched into “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” as he limped up the aisle, jingling his Styrofoam cup.

I am pretty much hardened to Christmas music, except at the end of the Christmas Eve service when the lights dim and the glories stream from heaven afar and the heavenly hosts sing Alleluia and then, from long habit, tears well up in my eyes and I weep for the dead who enjoyed Christmas so much and for humanity in general, and then we go sashaying out into the cold starry night and walk home.

A big orange and some fresh pine boughs and “Silent Night” are all I need, and cookies, of course.

They are the strings that when I pull on them I pull up the complete glittering storybook Christmases of my childhood.

Even when I’m in in Manhattan, the combination of orange and evergreen and the holy hymn brings back a snowy night in Minnesota and the colored lights, the mound of gifts, the deluxe mixed nuts in the cut-glass bowl, the candles, the faint air of Lysol from the toilets, and the cologne of my uncles as they sit munching their peanut brittle.

I stood in line at a pine-bough-decked-out Starbucks behind a tall, beautiful, dark-haired woman who ordered a venti mocha latte, 180 degrees, seven pumps, 2 percent, no foam, and though the headphones around her neck were playing the Beatles who were back in the U.S.S.R. spreading their broken wings and learning to fly, and finding Gideon’s Bible to help with good Rocky’s revival, the smell of chocolate and pine brought back the lights, the snow, the whole blessed day.

The advantage of growing older: a few details stand for the whole, just as in poetry.

The aim of a festive season is to attain amiability, and perhaps actual joy, which we may find in our private moments but which at Christmas we seek to attain together, thus it is a true test of the power of the community to elevate its members, without which we may as well take to the woods.

The family gathers, with its checkered history of jealousies and resentments, hoping to share warmth, to instill the most sullen member with a measure of cheer, and if it cannot do this, then it will break apart.

We left our families to escape our disapproving elders and find friendlier authority figures who give us permission to be original and write our own stories.

All we parents, no matter how wonderful we may seem, have said and done bad things to our children, and so we are relieved when they escape us without apparent permanent damage. And we hope for forgiveness, and for them to want to be with us at Christmas.

But how can we make them happy this time, when we have failed so often in the past?

The beauty of Christmas is that it is not about us, our creativity, our fabulous décor, the glittering gifts we can afford, but about a story and ritual that lift us all.

The other night I saw a young man standing on the corner holding a gas can and asked him if he needed a ride.

He said he’d been to a party at his sister’s house and a guy started beating up his sister and the young man jumped the guy and the cops came and broke it up and the young man had forgotten to ask his sister for money to buy gas for his car which was now out of gas and here he was on a cold night, far from home, a little drunk and very broke.

I did what anybody else would’ve done, and all the way to the gas station and back he was a little incredulous, but that’s Christmas. It isn’t about me, just as it isn’t about the shepherds in the pageant who are worried about forgetting their lines.

Not a problem. We all know the lines. Just do what the others do and try to beam when it seems appropriate.

Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” can be heard on U.S. public radio stations. Distributed by Tribune Media Services.





Genious in small bits

15 11 2007

I, as I may have posted here before, am a huge fan of Post Secret. If you haven’t been there, check it out.

Frank Warren, the creator and curator of the project, spoke in Madison recently, and his talk was very inspiring. His thoughts in starting the project were very simple: 1) have people send in anonymous secrets on postcards and 2) display them to the public. It is an amazing project that has moved millions of people, and it truly is a simple, ingenious idea. When Frank spoke to us in Madison, he said that people often asked him how he came up with such a great idea. His response to us was that there are millions of ideas out there that just take people with a little thought and creativity to start up.

I believe I’ve found one such project. It’s called Face 2 Face, and it’s by artists JR and Marco. It’s better to show than to tell, so here are a couple videos.

FACE 2 FACE trailer by JR and Marco
Uploaded by 28millimetres

FACE 2 FACE – EXPO PARIS
Uploaded by JR





Frank Warren Speaks!

22 10 2007

Tonight I went to see Frank Warren of PostSecret speak. He was really inspiring.

He spoke about how he got started with the project, what the secrets mean to him and what he hopes to accomplish. He told a lot of good stories, some funny, some sad and many hopeful. He read some fresh secrets that he had never read before and even opened an envelope with some secrets that had been handed to him at his last speaking engagement.

At first, when he spoke, Frank came off as a little cheesy. His talk of the secrets and how they help him learn and grow reminded me of pastors and teachers speaking to us during high school devotion. In school it felt insincere, but Frank’s talk slowly pulled me in, and I felt myself following with what he said.

He spoke about the first big media exposure he got after the initial bit from the site. It was a video for an All American Rejects song called Dirty Little Secret (which I can’t link to. Thanks, YouTube, for making my version of Flash incompatible with half of your videos.) Frank was offered $1,000 to use his secrets in the video. Instead, he requested that they donate $2000 to Hopeline, a suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

The sentiment of his that I felt most in tune with was that he felt he does not censor the cards of others. I felt like sometimes he might have wanted to, but he said he only takes down cards by request. His feeling was that so much of art, be it music, photography, painting or otherwise, is chosen to be displayed in boardrooms. This is raw, though. This is created by people and shot directly to Frank’s mailbox. He’s absolutely right not to censor it. I was fortunate to go to the talk.

By the way, he shared a secret with us. It’s in the first Post Secret book.