Some catching up

Occurs to me I’ve left a couple of previous entries hanging unfinished, so I’ll attend that right now. One. Back in May I had some things to say about the (then) upcomingStar Wars movie, “Revenge of the Sixth.” I gyrated through various explorations and rants, came to the conclusion that the film’s storytelling merits or demerits were merely incidental to how I felt about it, and allowed as how I might then take in a matinee to get an eyeful of what was supposed to be a gorgeous visual experience.

Note to self

Remember to look for the kim chee at the mega Chinese-Sushi-Mongolian stir-fry buffet during the dinner phase of the meal, before I go into dessert mode. I like kim chee, but I must have overlooked it while I was grazing the other offerings, so didn’t notice it until I was scanning the desserts. Kim chee does not play well with banana cream icebox cake. Note to self, part two. If I forget the wisdom of part one, be sure to have a large, preferably open, but at least well-ventilated space to walk around in after dinner.

Unexpected perks of the business

I’m not the world’s most politically active person. That’s no secret. I have my beliefs, and I act upon them from time to time, as the opportunity arises, but generally I’m not out with a picket sign. I prefer quieter action. This evening, just about 15 minutes ago, the doorbell rang. I wasn’t aware of anyone coming to visit, or any appointments I’d made, and there’s a “no soliciting” sign by the bell – so my curiosity was piqued. If it was someone I knew, that’d be a pleasant surprise.

Oh Jack, I am so sorry

My introduction to the wonder that was Marvel Comics in the mid-1960s was via the Fantastic Four. I’d read comics before then, sure, but it was with FF #37 that the budding imagineer within me was hooked and hauled in big time. That issue – unlike any of the DC Comics titles I’d read when I was younger, unlike any of the Marvel anthology monster-spook titles I’d seen previously – caught me and wrapped me up with a ribbon because, at the end of the story… it wasn’t finished!

War of the Meatloaves

I wish I could recall who it was in the movie business who said the following (or words to the effect): “If, in the course of a film, you see a meatloaf flying by in the background, pay attention – it is certain to be important later.” I’m wondering if I’ve just got served a bit of meatloaf. I almost never try to predict what’s going to happen in a film that’s not even yet been released, but I just read an article in the local USA Weekend magazine yesterday that prompts me to go out on a limb.

Thank you NPR, John Williams, and you too George Lucas

When Star Wars Episode 1 (or Episode minus-2, if you’re an unrepentant purist curmudgeon as I am), “The Phantom Menace” was in theatrical release, I did not go see it. Neither did I take in “Attack of the Clones” when it opened at the local multiplex. I have, since, seen enough bits and pieces of both films on cable TV to know what they’re about, and also to feel content in my choice to put the price of the cinema tickets to other use.

When good people have too much spare time

The mailbox at Warp Graphics (the snailmail one, not the email one – that’s a whole ‘nuther story) sees some interesting stuff. I’m not talking about the submissions of story and art that come in “over the transom,” or about the various offers that marketers out there in hype-land think a company with a name like “Warp” would be interested in. No. This is about the really off the wall items that people, who have an interest in Elfquest, put together when they have a lot of time.

Nastybad Basementstuff

Even though it’s a near-gorgeous day outside, this Saturday after Tax Day, I’m schlumpfing about the house because earlier in the week I decided it would be efficient to descend the back steps all at once in one foot-wrenching drop off the side of the landing. I discovered that feet do not bend the way hands do, but when pressed into the attempt, they do bruise the loveliest shades of purple. (And then there’s having to endure the joke about why a foot injury is the best form of male birth control.

They were heeeeeeere…

Whoa! Every once in a while you hear or read something that just makes your jaw drop. The April 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine cover features a story that was reported late last year, about newly discovered fossil remnants of what may be a new branch on the human family tree. These “little people” were discovered on an Indonesian island – far off the African “beaten path” of hominin fossil discoveries – and (what originally got my attention) they were only about three feet tall.

FDR was half right

I spotted the following on a sign outside a religious establishment earlier today (it doesn’t matter what religion it was – the expressed sentiment in my experience is valid across most denominations): Fear of God is the start of wisdom. “Say what?!” I thought to myself. “Boy, someone’s got that bass ackward. What does fear have to do with wisdom?” And then I was put in mind of another expression that equally throws sand in my mental gears: “Godfearing.” Very often – especially in these problematic and reactionary times – I hear it said of this or that person, as if it’s a positive quality, “He’s a good, Godfearing man.”

Sometimes you just want to thin the herd

I try very hard not to be judgmental upon what other people do, for there is a school of thought that teaches that we all – every one of us – are simply doing the best we know how to do in order to be happy. But sometimes maintaining that neutrality is deucedly difficult, and my molars suffer as a result of the grinding I put them through. The following appeared on December 10, 2004. It articulates far more eloquently than I could do, the feeling that comes over me when I observe what the author talks about.

More thoughts on “Matrix”

Note of explanation: The Elfquest blog isn’t set up as many others are, to allow instant and untrammeled response to whatever Wendy or I may post. We decided upon that course well before we put up the page, hoping that new tidbits on the site would bring visitors more frequently, but also knowing that neither of us has the time to get into an extended dialog about what we’ve written. (Once in a while, I’ll stick my nose into this or that discussion on one of the other EQ forums, just to keep things lively, but neither Wendy nor I want to make a habit of it – and it can be habit forming!

Deeper into the woods than ever…

Following upon Richard’s “Matrix” musings, I’ve just seen Disney’s fabulous restoration of “Bambi” out now on DVD. Rush to snap it up, gang…this one’s a treasure for the ages. Digitally enhanced yet faithful to the soft guache colors of yesteryear, it’s a more magnificent work of art than you remember. And don’t forget to stock up on Kleenex big time – you’ll need it! While the movie itself is a treasure, I want to call your attention to a section on Disc One called “Inside Walt’s Story Sessions.”

The Matrix Re-re-re-revisited

The nice thing about cable TV is that you don’t have to wait very long for one channel or another to rerun a movie. Surfing usually turns up something acceptable to watch, and for me at the end of a long day it’s usually mind-candy. So lately I’ve been stumbling across the two sequels to “The Matrix” – “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” – and if there’s nothing else too pressing to attend to, I’ll watch the visual pyrotechnics. The past few nights, it appears, have been my nights for catching the last half hour or so of the third film, “Revolutions.”

Brain Gears Going GRUNDGE!

Richard and I were hanging out at the fabulous comic shop Golden Apple on Melrose a few weeks back (do visit if you get the chance – they have just about everything anyone could want in stock, plus a lovely Elfquest display). Anyhoo, we chatted with various staff and customers and I got into a conversation with a young woman who was a pretty intense, longtime EQ fan. Now, mind you, we were standing directly in front of the fully-stocked Elfquest shelves in the store, which means “Searcher and the Sword” was right there on display.

This is a declarative sentence?

When did we stop being confident? I think it was not so very long ago as these things go… For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the English language. It’s quirky, it’s inconsistent, learning it is difficult compared to learning other languages, the rules are all over the linguistic map. But it’s a beautiful instrument, when played well. I fancy myself and editor and a writer and so I strive to use the language as well as I can – in speech as well as in writing.

Why does a male dog…?

So there I was earlier this evening, at the Daily Planet (the restaurant, not the newspaper), decompressing after a particularly grueling day at Warp Central. This eatery is one of those “theme” places, featuring decor from the 1960s through 1980s or so; there are LP album covers and posters and iconic images all over the walls. There are also a bunch of period television sets mounted up in the corners so just about everyone can watch whatever retro fare is playing.

Can “Back When” come back?

TCM ran “Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Collectors’ Edition” this afternoon. I was listening to it as I finished formatting the last page of EQ Grand Quest Volume 8. ‘Course I had to stop what I was doing and come out to see the last fifteen minutes…possibly the most visionary and spiritually uplifting climax to any movie ever filmed. It never fails to bring tears of gratitude. You “under thirties” out there…you just cannot begin to imagine what “Close Encounters” did for – and to – my generation in the mid seventies.

Finding Elfland

A good friend asked me the other day if I thought about Elfquest all the time. She wanted to know if the world of Two Moons was sort of “overlayed” on ordinary reality, so that I always saw two worlds at once. What a great question. When you build a detailed fantasy universe and carry it around in your head for years and years, it’s easy for others to suppose that you prefer to live in that universe all the time.

Blog Detour

Hi Gang! Earlier today I started a blog which evolved into a fairly weighty WendyWords. It’s off to Richard and Tim, now, so look for it any day on the home page. Meantime, the earthshaking news is Angel went into the duck pond again (my fault – I looked away). Phew! STINK-ER-ROO! Off to the groomers! I think they may have used a touch too much fabric softener and ran her too long in the fluff cycle. Now she looks like one of those spherical fiberoptic lamps.

Curse you, Apple!

If you’ve read various editorials that Wendy or I have posted to, you know that Warp Graphics is, completely and coast-to-coast, a Macintosh operation. Back when the Mac debuted in 1984, the only decent page-layout, desktop publishing application was a newcomer called PageMaker, and it was only available for the Mac. Because I wanted to apply such a tool to the production of Elfquest, I bought my first Mac. Yes, the decision may have been “cart before horse” in nature, but in the years since, I have never ever looked back, or regretted that I took the road less traveled.

Lightening the load

Got a note from one of our agents today: “I notice that you’re letting go some of your art collection on Heritage – I hope you’re only cleaning the closet and not getting rid of all your visual treats.” (He’s referring to “The Richard and Wendy Pini Collection” auction at Heritage Galleries.) Well, first of all, no way am I getting rid of all my “visual treats!” I’ve still got eyes in my head, so I’m still eminently open to whatever the world has to display.

Up, up and away

OK, if I don’t get this out of my skull and into words my spine will snap… What does it feel like to fly? No, I mean, really fly. Not “what does it feel like to be strapped into an upholstered toothpaste tube hurtling at 500 miles per hour through the cold air at 37,000 feet.” But rather, when Superman flies, or when Rayek or Aroree “float,” just what do they feel? Inside, in their skins, in their nerves, behind their eyes.

A Day in the Life – or – How to clean a sooty fox

Remember what Kimo said to Shuna in Searcher and the Sword? “To be a four-legged is to think no more of dropping one’s life than a bird thinks of dropping a feather.” The spirit of a white fox said that to me, not too long ago. His snowy pelt adorned a quiver of arrows and made me cry. But he comforted me. So I took the fox quiver home and gave him a place of honor above the fireplace. Unfortunately, flue problems sent some soot up and the fox, I noticed the other day, was no longer snowy.

My First Blog!!!

As Kate Smith used to say, “Hello everybody!” And, no, I’m not dating myself. She was way before my time, too! What fun this is! I’d heard about blogging but didn’t really “grok” it. Then our friend and colleague, Jeff Zugale, explained it all over steak and margaritas at Outback. (Yes, I’m a Wolfrider. Eat dead things occasionally. Like ’em rare and always thank them.) Once Richard got the idea he just zoom went ahead and implemented it. And here we are.

Test one, two, three…

“…Anything but that!” Hello? Is this thing on? This is actually Richard, seeing if he will be successful in setting up Wendy’s account. Extra credit to anyone who gets the source of the title and first line of this entry.

Well well well well well!

With these words I take my first baby steps into the world of blogging. I swore, not so long ago, I’d never do this – for reasons many and varied and valid at the time. But even an old wolf can learn new tricks, so here I am. Some of you may ask why I’ve changed my mind. It’s a fair question. (Trust me, not all questions will I choose to see as fair, and not all questions will I choose to answer.