Em oi! #386: She’s up all night to the sun

Working harder makes it better

I know I have used a Daft Punk song lyric as a title before but I can’t find it.

I was going to write about buying the house (we closed about a week and a half ago) and all the stuff that has gone on (and gone wrong, but also gone right) since then, but I am frigging tired. I have been getting up as early as possible (between 5-6am) to work on my thesis too, and that isn’t helping. Yesterday I ran twelve miles, then spent the rest of the day painting with my very kind and generous friends. Then I fell into bed by 22:00.

The paint looks good. I still have paint in my hair.

Today: Utterly unable to accomplish anything. Well, I got some work done and made some phone calls, but it wasn’t a productivity-fest.

Tomorrow: Hopefully better.

Until then, dear readers.

File this one under HB501.L86 2013 for Economic theory. Demography–Economic theory–Capital. Capitalism.

Em oi! #382: Make Good Choices

No bare bodkins here, sorry.

We went and saw the new Hamlet out at American Player’s Theatre in honor of my cousin Keith graduating from his PhD program. It was a pretty good show–the fellow playing Hamlet reminded me of David Tennant’s Hamlet, to some extent, and the guy playing Polonius reminded me of Bill Murry’s turn at that role. Jim DeVita, who played Claudius, was quite good, and I was reminded of the first Hamlet I saw there, with Mr. DeVita in the title role then. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were good and not portrayed as idiots, for once, which was very refreshing.

There were some more interesting things about the casting this time–for example, Horatio, Fortinbras, and a few other parts were played by African American actors; I don’t recall seeing that previously. It does kind of raise some other questions about race in casting (like: Couldn’t you cast a Black Hamlet?). But it’s a step, right?

The costumes were sort of surprisingly loud–the ball gowns and capes were made from some shiny material, maybe taffeta, and there wasn’t any wind, so as the actors went sweeping across the stage, we could hear the silken, sad, uncertain rustling. (And it didn’t thrill me.) But I do like a period dress Hamlet. I’ve been trying to put a finger on why modern-dress Shakespeare kind of bugs me, and I think it has something to do with the fact that when the actors are in modern dress, we have to pretend that the plays themselves are modern. What do I mean? Well, of course the plots are incredibly dynamic and, with a few exceptions, speak to us as much today as they did four hundred years ago. But not every sentiment in them is exactly an upstanding modern sentiment. For example: “Frailty, thy name is woman.” “Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,/If with too credent ear you list his songs,/Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open/To his unmaster’d importunity.” Or how about Ophelia, speaking of the play, “Tis brief, my lord.” Hamlet: “As woman’s love.”

I could keep going, but I think I’ve made my point. I should add that I would rather see a modern dress anything than another “Hamlet wears tights and a dress tunic because that’s kind of like the way people dressed in the 1600s right?”

Interestingly, while I was drawing this comic, two people (neither of whom were aware of my researching J.P. Sartre) sent me the following joke:

Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies, “I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”

Why is this funny? Because Sartre focused on the idea of choice. His thing about “authenticity” was that everyone should live the life that they want, so long as they do not negatively affect/exploit others, replacing ego with a “spontaneous selfness” he refers to as “ipsity.” As part of being in the world, we are free; choices represent a problem because they limit our freedom. But in order to really make a choice, you can’t just follow the path of least resistance–you need to actually make a choice. Since there’s no cream, he can’t really choose not to have cream, since he couldn’t choose the opposite (to have cream). (Quote from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Wikipedia also has a nice summary.) Anyway, Hamlet’s choice to either get revenge or spare his father is problematic in Sartre’s terms.

This one is filed under PR2807.A8 L86 2013 for English literature–English renaissance (1500-1640)–The drama–Individual authors–Shakespeare, William–Separate works–Hamlet–Criticism.

The process of choosing titles is a bit troublesome. I almost went with “Authenticity” (after a Harvey Danger song) but only my brother S. would have gotten it, since he and I are the only remaining Harvey Danger fans. As it is, perhaps he will appreciate this one.

Anyway, changing topics, here is the first comic I ever drew with Shakespeare in it:

Men in Dresses is my Queen cover band.

This one I’ll file under PN56.H83 L86 2013 for Literature (General)–Theory. Philosophy. Esthetics–Relation to and treatment of special elements, problems, and subjects–Other special–Topics A-Z–Humor.

Also you should know that the Library of Congress has reserved the heading BF1311.S5 for Parapsychology–Spiritualism. Communication with discarnate spirits–Mediumship. Psychometry. Channeling–Spirit messages, inspirational records, etc.–Special, A-Z–Shakespeare, William. So. You know. That.

Em oi! #374: Winning

Chai Yo!

This conversation actually happened while we were in Thailand, and I should have uploaded it earlier but I didn’t. For reasons (primarily, I am engaged in a standoff [ha]with my right ankle and have been busy sulking). But the good news is that it is up now. The guy in the pictures is Andy, you can see him in the background of this picture. The woman is named Wanni–she was our cooking instructor, and she was amazing. Clicking on this link will take you to their website.

In the last panel, the banner says “Chaiyo!” which means “Hurrah.” But I figured you could guess that from context. At the time, I’d spent a lot of the trip feeling like I was struggling to make myself understood…and then conversation with Wanni had been so easy, I was just thrilled. And evidently so was she!

We’ll file this under GN367 .L86 2013, for Anthropology—Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology—Culture and cultural processes—Acculturation. Culture contact—Assimilation. The Chinese have a term for this too–they call it “Zhong guo hua [中国化]” or “Sinicization”–I believe it specifically refers to an outsider adopting Chinese cultural norms. The Thai…I was going to say they don’t have a word for becoming Thai, but they do– “Siwali” or “Civilized.”

So that’s interesting, I think.

Things have been quiet around here. In order to avoid a feeling of isolation while working on my thesis (easy to have, since I no longer have any courses), I’ve rejoined a local martial arts dojo. It is so much fun. And I am, despite being on a rather large dose of ibuprofen, very sore. Yesterday the animals had their teeth cleaned. Maya had to have a tooth extracted (she’d cracked it, maybe chewing on a rock or a bone) and Kali was a bit loopy from the anesthetic, so things are pretty calm (see photograph).

Oh, the excitement.

Here are some other photos from the trip. This is still a tiny fraction of the total pictures I took, so I’ll try to find some more for next week. If you’re interested in more background information, some of these were taken at Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Doi Suthep in the area surrounding Chiang Mai City. Click to embiggen.
pink flowers

espresso con panna
espresso con panna
enhance your appetite
“Enhance your appetite.” I love this one. Also, I think the sugar packets hold more sugar than the ones here.
emily at wat chedi
Me at Wat Chedi Luang
bryan wanni emily maew
Left to right, B, Wanni, Em, and Wanni’s husband Maew.
altar wat chedi
Altar at Wat Chedi Luang
wat chedi
The chedi at Wat Chedi Luang.
Nagas at Wat Chedi Luang
Nagas at Wat Chedi Luang

maybe an orchid

many flowers

girl and naga
Girl and Naga, Wat Doi Suthep


Em oi! #39, 78, 90, 94, 147, 149, 158, and 162: Running Jokes

GV529 .L86 2007 (Recreation. Leisure—Physical education and training—Gymnastics. Gymnastics exercises—Heavy exercises—Jumping exercises.) Guest appearance by Ly!

GV498 .L86 2007 (Recreation. Leisure—Physical education and training—Gymnastics. Gymnastics exercises—Calisthenics. Group exercises—Rope jumping or skipping.) Guest appearance by Chandra!

GV1061.8.P75 L86 2007 (Recreation. Leisure—Sports—Track and field athletics—Foot racing. Running—Other special topics, A-Z—Psychological aspects.) Guest appearance by my sister-in-law, Claire.

GV1061.8.P75 L86 2007a (Recreation. Leisure—Sports—Track and field athletics—Foot racing. Running—Other special topics, A-Z—Psychological aspects.) Same deal, pretty much. Guest here is my brother Daniel.

RC553.M36 L86 2008 (Internal medicine—Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry—Psychiatry—Specific pathological states, A-Z—Masochism). Daniel again. He actually owns a ton of shirts with stripes on the front, in case you were curious. Or maybe he owns only one shirt like that and I just have some weird belief about his wardrobe. That could also be true.

GV1065.17.T73 L86 2008 (Recreation. Leisure—Sports—Track and field athletics—Foot racing. Running—Distance running—Marathon running—Special topics, A-Z—Training). I think that when I drew this, I was actually training for my first half marathon. I remember telling B when we met that my memoir will eventually be called I Wish I Were Eating Curry Right Now. It’s a recurring theme in my life.

GV1062.5.M3 L86 2008 (Recreation. Leisure—Sports—Track and field athletics—Foot racing. Running—Distance running—Individual races, events, etc., A-Z). Here, M3 is the Cutter number for the half marathon at the Madison Marathon.

HD9993.S952 L86 2008 (Industries. Land use. Labor—Special industries and trades—Recreational equipment. Sporting goods—Special products, A-Z—Swimming pools—General works. History.) The pool in question is at the Princeton Club West. In case you were curious. Now I mostly swim at the local Gold’s, which has solid lane lines. I miss the Roschach-like tiles on the previous one.

A ton of people have come up to me in the last two weeks to tell me they want to start running. Even my mom is getting in on it. (Hi, Mom!) So to celebrate, here are some of the comics I’ve drawn about running. Not all of them, even–I have drawn a lot of comics about running I guess.

Anyway, I am not feeling especially funny this week and I need to take some time off. I’ll be back next week with new stuff.

Em oi! #358: Kiss Me Deadly

Arguably, Batman should be on this list somewhere.

You can click to embiggen this, though I’m not sure why you’d want to, it’s already so large.

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with superhero comics. I really enjoy the frequent assertion that just having immense power, muscles, intelligence, etc., doesn’t make life a smooth sail–Spiderman may be able to defeat Doc Ock, but he can’t ask Mary Jane to the prom, and good luck Clark Kent getting Lois to look at you instead of Superman. Bruce Wayne may be quite a catch, but when a lady realizes her boyfriend is spending his nights driving around town with a young lad in a sports car, well, maybe she begins to think the romance is gone. The stuff that makes superhero comics interesting, in short, isn’t what makes them super, but what makes them human.

The Authority was a comic that attracted my attention in about 2005 or 2006 because it turns a lot of common comics tropes on their heads. It’s about a group of super heroes (Jenny Sparks/Jenny Quantum, Jack Hawksmoor, the Engineer, the Doctor, Swift, Apollo, and the Midnighter) in the style of the Justice League who live on an interdimensional space craft and save the planet frequently. Instead of having secret identities and living normal lives when they’re off duty, the Authority act like rock stars, getting drunk, getting laid, using drugs, going to parties, showing off…basically exactly what you might act like if you had super powers. They are quite violent and often act like they are above the law, including interfering in global politics (one issue shows them forcing the Chinese to withdraw from Tibet, among other things, and at one point they take over the US government as a junta). Their basic strategy is not something along the lines of, “Humanity needs to be protected from alien threats so it can reach its full potential,” (a la Superman), but more like “We know what’s best for you.” Needless to say, this doesn’t always work out.

Anyway, they have several female team members who are real members of the team and not just along to balance out the demographics, and also two gay men who happen to be an early gay superhero marriage, as I mention above. I can’t over-emphasize though, the Authority was always, if not badly drawn then really unevenly drawn, and after Ellis left the writing was pretty uneven too. The Midnighter later got his own comic which was entertaining if you enjoy watching people kick the heads off Nazis, for example.

And in some ways, that last paragraph encapsulates what I dislike about superhero comics: frequently badly (and unrealistically) drawn, in a style I find very difficult to replicate, with uneven writing, few realistic female characters, few characters of any ethnicity other than Caucasian, and terrible plots. I would hardly be original to observe that many comic artists draw female characters as though they’d never really seen a woman before, but as a woman I have to say that tendency bothers me. But while doing some reference drawings of Apollo last night, I realized the male musculature is just as abnormal.

I’ll class this comic under PN6232.C6116 L86 2012, for Collections of general literature—Wit and humor—Collections on special topics, A-Z—Comic books, strips, etc.

And here as a bonus is the first comic I ever did with Superman in it:
For better or for awesome

I remember when I drew this, I knew my actual wedding dress was going to be red, so I drew the dress in the comic blue to throw everyone off. This was totally important at the time.

Filing this one retrospectively under: P96.S94 L86 2009, for Philology. Linguistics—Communication. Mass media—Special aspects—Other, A-Z—Superman—General works.