Monthly archives: June 2005

A Welshman's castle is his island

When I was less than one, Mum used to take me to the beach at Milford Haven. Now, if I had £150k, I could buy a Napoleonic era fort just offshore.

The 19th Century fort – complete with a couple of cannons – dates back from the time of Napoleon, when it was initially built as a defence for the river Haven.

But it has nowhere to sleep at present, and the new owner will have to sort out sewage, water and power.

The fort, completely surrounded by water and with its own jetty, was built on a small island to protect the area from invasion.

In keeping with EcoHouse, this sounds like a case for tidal power and other renewables.

via BoingBoing

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I want to get creative promoting Deputised Experts. Webcomicsnation is going to have a function where I can upload images for export to the PSP and I’ll be packaging the first chapter up for distribution that way. And now there is Clickwheel, software which pre-empts the video iPod by allowing people to create movies, slideshows etc. for the iPod photo. Currently it’s only available for Mac OSX, but hopefully the Windows version will be finished before the end of the first submissions phase.

via BoingBoing

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Man On Fire

This is a good looking film, beautifully shot, well acted and with fine direction. But none of that can save it from the nasty message at its heart.

Creasy is a former covert operative scarred and driven to drink by years of unspecified dark deeds South of the Border. Winding up in Mexico he takes a job guarding Pita, the daughter of a local businessman (Dakota Fanning, who is perhaps too blonde to be convincingly half Mexican).

As the first hour drags on the poppet works her magic and Creasy begins to care for her. So, of course, she gets kidnapped and he is shot trying to stop it. When the ransom payment is hijacked and Pita isn’t returned Creasy, still badly wounded and symbolically bleeding in swimming pools, vows revenge and works his way up the gangster hierarchy.

This is the sort of film apologists for Abu Ghraib and Gitmo must love. Creasy has no problem torturing people to get information and, unlike real life, they always tell him what he needs to hear, rather than what he wants, they all deserve it because they’re sadistic child killers and he never accidentally chops the finger off an innocent man. He doesn’t have to worry about the possible collateral damage from dropping cars off cliffs above football pitches or RPG’ing them in mid town traffic, because his quest is so Just.

We’re supposed to accept that Creasy is atoning for past sins, but really he’s just committing them again in a freelance capacity. If anything the unsurprising twist at the end lessens Creasy’s redemption rather than validates it. And I could have done without the bullshit philosophising about bullets telling the truth.

I get the feeling that this film, and the current season of 24, are about telling the American public what they should accept being done in their name. If torture works in such high quality entertainment than maybe it’s okay for the real world as well.

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"The chances of anything man-like on Mars are a million to one"

The other War of the Worlds adaptation, by Ian Edgington and the great, underused, D’Israeli. Dark Horse are publishing it in chapters on their website, with updates every Friday.

Which serves to remind me that I ought to buy Scarlet Traces, a sequel to War of the Worlds, set in an England where Victoria’s greatest engineers have adapted the Martian technologies to the service of Empire. If I remember correctly, Scarlet Traces started as a webcomic before graduating to print.

via Comics Reporter

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Keep it in the family

Investigating the father/son dynamics in creating comic strips.

The family arrangement prevailed not only in the funny pages but also in real life. Now age 81, Walker presides over a nest of strips worked on by his sons, as well as the sons of Dik Browne. It takes a complicated chart to trace this family tree, but, in a nutshell, “Hi and Lois” is now produced by Brian and Greg Walker and Chance Browne, “Beetle Bailey” by Mort Walker and Greg Walker, and “Hagar the Horrible” by Chris Browne.

via Arts & Letters Daily

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Little grey Bond

My secret agent has received an undercoat of grey and awaits the first, broad strokes of colour. His car, meanwhile, is stuck in the scrap yard. A lack of parts and damaged body shell mean I’m putting aside the EBay purchase and getting another. The combine cost is still less than six quid and the scratchbuilt parts I’ve put together so far will go in the new model just as well.

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My parents are about to join the broadband revolution. Their local exchange is wired for sound and they’ve just got to decide who to have as a provider. BT would be the obvious choice, but I’d like to hear from you if you can think of a better ISP.

Maximum speeds and download limits are unlikely to be an issue. Price and overall reliability and service are the most important factors.

(You’ll notice that the comments have changed. Backblog has been experiencing problems that have resukted in the page taking far too long to download. So I turned it off and have gone over to Blogger comments instead.)

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Nagasaki Reports

American reporter George Weller was the first foreign journalist allowed to see Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped on it. At the time the reports were censored by the General Headquarters of America’s occupation forces. They have been made available on the internet.

I want to read these because, when Deputised Experts is finished, I’m planning an alternative fifties story where the atom bomb was dropped on Berlin. It’s important to know what the devastation was like.

via Warren Ellis

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Spinneyhead Lite

Posting has been low for the last week or two. This is because I’ve got a job and it’s summer, so there’s often something else to be doing. I don’t apologise for this as it’s all potential material for future inclusion. Check out Dig or Spinneyworld for pictures of some of the things I’ve been up to.

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