Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cradle to Cradle part 02

Chapter two continues the analysis and chapter three begins describing solutions. The authors describe industry and environment as seeing themselves as antagonists. Fair enough. They are seeking a new paradigm that sees these as collaborators, where industry is inherently renewable and nourishing.

And most interesting to me is that they see this as a design issue. Regulation is required to the depredations of industry, whereas a well designed system would require no regulation because the benefits would be inherently profitable and well as healthy.

I have prattled to friends in the past about good work flow design and how it could be implemented at my work places. I've described it as "designing work flow so that people do things the way they want to, and it gives you the results you want." When you can effectively do this, you can save yourself all kinds of management headaches.

So seeing this as a design issue, as McDonough and Braungart do, certainly appeals to me.

Beginning Again

So I began this blog a couple of months ago thinking about what I needed to accomplish this year. Things were in flux coming into 2010, but are now talking shape. I found a new job, and while I don't want it to be long term, it resolves some immediate problems. I finished my classes and certificate, and while I'll be continuing to take classes next fall, I'm taking the summer off from it. I finished the substantial comics project I planned for, Okita and the Cat and added the short Daddy's Girl to the pile.

Summer means getting back to work on a portfolio that can help me to find work, and specifically, really getting back on top of my software proficiencies.

And I also want to write. Really write. Spend time writing. This blog is a bit of it... a warmer-upper. I may write some short comics, but really, I've a novel in mind and must begin work on that.

Yet and still, I've hit my marks so far this year, so why not continue now that I've clarified for myself what they are.

Cradle to Cradle part 01

Subtitled "Remaking the Way We Make Things".

I have just started reading Cradle to Cradle based on the recommendation of an architect friend of mine. Researching it, I recalled that the first named author, Wm. McDonough, was positively mentioned in a class I had previously taken.

I'm only just a little ways in, so I dare not make too many assumptions about where the authors (McDonough and Micheal Braungart) are going, but suspicions and cautions do crop up during the early reading.

Will this be simply a Utopian wish fantasy about living with nature? Is the agenda implausibly radical? Will it account for the fact that economics will invariably be a powerful driver for any achievable aims? I don't know the answers to these questions yet, but I'll be reading on to find out.

The premise of Cradle to Cradle, is that the "Reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra of environmentalists is insufficient to stem the degradation of the world we live in, and eventually the quality of our lives. Down-cycling waste only slows the "cradle to grave" creation and consumption approach that is built into our economy and lifestyles.

Citing the back cover because I haven't reached this point in the book yet; the authors propose a "waste equals food" concept that designs products from the outset to become the "nutrients" of new products. Hmmm... it sounds like a system without entropy. Can there be absolutely no waste? At this point I doubt it, and suspect that what the authors will propose is more like a further slowing of decay... not that that's a bad thing.

But in the big picture, the earth is not a closed system. It is driven by energy from the sun, so the metaphor of infinite ssutainablity falls aprt here. And of course in the even larger picture, we don't yet know whether to expect the eventual heat death of the Universe, or its rebound into a new Big Bang.

Of course all of that is far outside of the scope of sustainable living as we mean it today. For our purposes, there may be much of value in what McDonough and Braungart propose. Stay tuned as I read on.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I read Lolita.

Of course we are all scandalized to know that the monster Humbert Humbert is in love with the barely pubescent nymphet Dolores Haze, called Dolly, Lo, Lola and for Hum, his own Lolita.

Beyond that, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a story about love. Rapturous love. Obsessive, destructive love. Love at first sight. Love that derails Dolly's childhood and twists Humbert from observation to action to crime.

Nabokov never panders. The sex is deftly, delicately, discretely handled. The inner workings of Humbert's obsession are likewise pinned and described as delicately as the butterflies Nabokov hunted every summer. Lo is seen from a distance, through the prism of Humbert's rapture, and only slowly reveals herself.

The early chapters give you Humbert circling his desired object, followed by the long ramble of travel with Hum and his imagined "daughter as wife". The book closes with the delirium of Humbert's inevitable loss and the impossibility of its recapture.

Humbert's love does great damage to many people, but in the end, the reader is left with no doubt that he did indeed love his Lolita as deeply and as poorly as any love in literature.

Worth a read.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Daddy's Girl

Rather then take a breather, I am taking advantage of having finished Okita early and doing another little six page project... a zombie story called Daddy's Girl. I don't care much for horror or zombie's generally, but this has been a chance to stretch myself by taking a different tack to the art on a short project.

Usually I do a page at a time, pencil; and ink, maybe even scan letter and tone, before moving on. For this I penciled all six pages today, (now I'm off to work) and tomorrow, I should be able to ink and scan it, as i have the day free. I'll let the publisher letter it, and I'm going to try to do it without gray tones. I'll add my texture by hand... which will be another change of approach, and its made possible because I'm pencilling it all first. Since there's a gap between the pencil work and the inking, I need to make the pencils more finished, so I remember what I intended. I also have to make the pencils more carefully, because there's a lot of deatal in this script.

Its all interconnected.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Okita page 48

I had hoped to have this done by the end of May. Seems I beat that and good thing too, because I have another shorty, (6 pages) lined up.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sonny Rollins at Mondavi

C and I went to the Mondavi center in Davis last night for the last of our concert tickets. We saw Sonny Rollins who walked in all hunched over and flap footed. He's 79 and it shows. But he could still pull a huge sound out of his tenor. Saxophone Colossus indeed and among the last of his generation of jazz giants.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Okita page 27

Got three pages done today (and three yesterday) so I'm picking up speed, as happens on these kind of projects. 21 pages to go, plus a cover.

Note that on the eleventh, I was posting page 16.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Horror is not a genre I read or watch movies of much. But I have some thoughts about what horror is that I'll take a moment to share with you. Perhaps they will spark a thought.

Much of my thought on this stems from Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae wherein she points to the Apollonian desire for the integrity or wholeness of the person, in opposition to and fear of the Dionysian dissolution of the person in the face of nature's amoral destruction and fecundity. At bottom, horror is about the loss of identity and its reconstitution as the thing feared. It is the fear of death and transformation into the grist of nature's mill.

Get bit by a werewolf and become one yourself.

Create an artificial man out of the parts of other men.

A moron becomes brilliant through a medical procedure and realizes that it won't last and his mind will soon slip away.

Become the egg carrying womb of a space alien and watch as the baby erupts through your abdomen, sharing some of your genetic material.

Horror can mean the dissolution of the body, the mind, the moral code. It can easily be eroticised in branches of pornography dealing with dominance and submission, or the 'descent' of men into effeminacy. Obviously, this latter approach is unsuitable for your needs, but consider a story in which a person must watch their mind, or more subtly, moral code dissolve.

As with the erotic, or the thriller, or even the murder mystery, much of the power of horror comes from the anticipation; of watching the inevitable dissolution/transformation come, and discovering that no matter how much you twist and turn, you cannot escape or evade it. And beware of heroism in the protagonist. that transforms horror into tragedy. Consider District 9, where the oncoming horror of transformation into an alien prawn is muted by the heroism of the infected man. It ends on an elegiac note featuring a spark of hope that the aliens will return to 'cure' him. In the end, the creators blunted the horror.

But consider a story about some one who mutilates themselves, (physically or psychically) for a cause and in the expectation that they will be redeemed, while we as the reader know that instead, they will be betrayed and abandoned. Consider Slumdog Millionaire where the singing boys were blinded to make the gangster a few more bucks while they were young. That's horror.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Okita page 16

Despite some delays this past week due to school and work, I am up to page 16, the one third mark

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Okita thoughts

So my plan was to get through page 12 today, pencils, inks, scanned lettered and toned. I got to page 13... except that I haven't done any tones as yet and I'm behind on the tones for the previous few pages as well.

If I stop now, am I on pace? If I get those pages toned then I am definitely ahead. My gut says that I need to tone at least some of these pages tonight to be on schedule. Of course its an arbitrary schedule, my own schedule. I'd like to have the book done by the end of May, mostly because I want to get on to other things.

Its early evening now. If in take a break to write this, and other thoughts, perhaps I'll have the mind set to get back to it before I retire tonight. Tomorrow doesn't exist. I won't have time to get back to this until the day after.

If not for my mental schedule though, I could say this was a good productive day.