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Responses to this rant
Badbart   Saturday, 8/13/2005 5:14 PM
Steve   Wednesday, 8/24/2005 10:38 PM
FBI   Wednesday, 8/24/2005 11:14 PM
Badbart   Friday, 9/30/2005 5:35 PM
Steve   Thursday, 9/29/2005 9:14 PM
Badbart   Friday, 10/14/2005 10:52 PM
Older rants
June 1, 2020   Trip to the Grand Canyon (last year),
Code Talker
Mar 21, 2020   The World Famous San Diego ComicFest
and the testament to dorkness that is my cubicle
and my sad, sad little doodles
Mar 8, 2020   A return to Potterland,
Meg & Dia's Christmas album, December Darling,
some other random stuff
Feb 21, 2020   Agorafabulous!,
Emeli's amazing creations
Nov 27, 2019   David Savakerrva Volume 1
The cubicle of nerdishness
Oct 28, 2019   Art Matters, Neil Gaiman
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Eric Idle
Alternate Routes, Tim Powers
Disneyland - Galaxy's Edge
Oct 4, 2019   Meg & Dia, HappySad tour San Diego 09/18/19
September 21. 2019   David Bowie - Scary Monsters,
More Adventures in Leasing,
More cubicle fun,
A new doodle
September 10. 2019   The Cranberries - In The End,
The Cranberries - Something Else,
Icicle Works, Icicle Works (vinyl),
Dia Frampton, Red,
Juliana Hatfield, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John,
The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads,
Green Day, Insomniac ,
Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords Live in London
August 28, 2019   Heir of Ra (Maciek Sasinowski,
The Catalyst Series (JK Franks): Downward Cycle, Kingdom of Sorrow, Ghost Country
May 11, 2019   Goodbye, little friend
Nov 30, 2018   Fire of Our Fathers,
a Science Fiction Book Club rant
Nov 24, 2018   The Dinosaur Lords,
Dragon Teeth
Nov 20, 2018   My cubicle revisited, really-old ComicCon stuff, Emeli's Art, More Disney Adventures, The Zoo and Safari Park
September 9, 2018   Perimeter - an eBook thriller
September 3, 2018   Take Back the Sky Starcraft Evolution
August 11, 2018   Idaho Dunes Awesome soda Ethanol-free gas an awesome Bald Guy card Our rough dig Harry Potter Interlude story
July 21, 2018   The Cup in the Shadows (The Forbidden Powers Book 1)
June 24, 2018   Jake, Lucid Dreamer
June 13, 2018   Troll-stalking
May 23, 2018   Another badbartopia email spoofer, A sunny-day Disney adventure, Raymond E Feist book signing
May 15, 2018   A rainy-day Disneyland trip The Bassoon King
Apr 28, 2018   Down and Out in Purgatory
Apr 13, 2018   Operation Hail Storm
Mar 4, 2018   American Exodus
Jan 22, 2018   Christmas, Didn't Get Frazzled, The Sea People, The Rooster Bar, Last Burial Night, Doctor Who and the Krikkit Men
Dec 15, 2017   Mistrial, City of Death and Disneyland
Nov 14, 2017   Grace Vanderwaal - Just the Beginning
Nov 11, 2017   Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory
November 4, 2017   Return to Disneyland, Halloween at the office, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Long Cosmos Maximus One year After War Dogs, Killing Titan Daddy, Stop Talking
October 29, 2017   Bruce Campbell Signing, Hail to the Chin, Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
October 20, 2017   Meg & Dia, Imagine Dragons in concert, 2 Years 8 months and 28 Nights
October 17, 2017   All Apologies
October 16, 2017   Thrawn
Septempber 7, 2017   The Rage of Dragons, The Lincoln Myth
August 10, 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008 usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Update: Thursday October 13, 2005
New and Improved
As should be obvious if you've ever been here before today, I've finally found the time to make most of the changes to the site that have been preventing me from updating for the past few weeks/months. I'm not entirely sure about the changes, but they will do, for now. I may even be posting some new content in the coming days.

The list of "other rants" doesn't mesh perfectly with the new site design - clicking on a previous rant will open the rant (until/unless I change each of them) in the previous site style. Clicking on a response in the "responses" list will now take you to the response page.

Update: Tuesday August 2, 2005
Site Changes
Badbartopia has moved (this transition began about three weeks ago) from ICDSoft to Godaddy for more web space, more transfer bandwidth, ASP support (which I opted not to use), and a surprising lack of other features that were standard with the ICDSoft hosting. There remain a great number of unresolved issues with the site due to database and other URL pathing problems and setup issues. The response page is currently non-functional (as are all image links). I hope to have everything functional in the near future (I just returned from a vacation to Idaho/Utah, so I haven't had a chance to do anything much before today).
Thursday June 23, 2005
The Black Hole of Warcraft

Happy Father's Day to me!

I received a very surprising gift for Father's Day - World of Warcraft. I say "surprising" because a few weeks ago, I had used a free 10 day trial and it had sucked up most of my free waking moments (as well as a good many that shouldn't have been "waking"). Yet, knowing what a black hole for my time this game would become, Julie still bought it for me. I had considered buying it, but had always balked because I knew how difficult it would be to stop playing, once I started. And it is difficult. I haven't quite figured out how to limit my time in the "World of Warcraft" just yet, but I'm working on it. Avoid this game at all costs--it is way too much fun. And if you are sucked into it, watch for a Gnome Mage named Gnomdalf. That's me.

As usual, I have added a few more bad sketches, but little, if anything, else has changed. My site renovation schemes remain unfulfilled. The stack of clipped comic strips remains unscanned. I seem to be losing any ambition I may have once had for Badbartopia.

I have seen a few movies/DVDs and have even finished reading a let's move on to those.

Book Reviews
The Years of Rice and Salt

This book took me many weeks to read...and I would like to blame the author's writing style or maybe even the content for this, but there is only one source of blame. Me. I haven't been reading as much as I used to. Between watching TV and surfing the Internet, I spend no more than 20-30 minutes a day (on average) reading. Shameful.

To give you a little background, here's a brief summary of the story: The setting is somewhere in eastern Europe between 1200 and 1300 AD. Mongol hordes are wreaking havoc, but a new variable is introduced to the events as they transpired in history: the black plague (or some variant thereof) is wiping out the pale-skinned people of the globe. The plague seems to have less effect on Asians, Middle Easterners and even Africans, but does also spread to them if they are incautious. Little of this is explained in the book until much later, leaving many questions in the beginning. There are several primary characters who are reincarnated throughout different periods of this alternate Earth's time--sometimes as men, other times women, and at least once as animal. They don't always meet, and the identities of their "souls" are not always revealed, but the understanding that they are alive together is there (after a few reincarnations). The Chinese discover America (though it is never referred to as "America"), industrial revolution sweeps the globe, massive war erupts, the atom, and the potential locked within, is discovered, etc. The Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic religions all figure heavily in the story (the afterlife seems to be, from my scant knowledge of any of these religions, a combination of the beliefs of each).

A passage regarding human history, inequality and the role of the major eastern religions:

So. To a very great extent human history has been the story of the unequal accumulation of harvested wealth, shifting from one center of power to another, while always expanding the four great inequalitites. This is history. Nowhere, as far as I know, has there ever been a civilization or moment when the wealth of the harvests created by all has been equitably distributed. Power has been exerted wherever it can be, and each successful coercion has done its part to add to the general inequality, which has risen in direct proportion to the wealth gathered; for wealth and power are much the same. The possessors of the wealth in effect buy the armed power they need to enforce the growing inequality. And so the cycle continues. All the world's various religions have attempted to explain or mitigate these inequalities, including Islam, which originated in the effort to create a realm in which all are equal; they have tried to justify the inequalities in this world. They have all failed; even Islam has failed; the Dar al-Islam is as damaged by inequality as anywhere else. Indeed I now think that the Indian and the Chinese description of the afterlife, the systems of the six lokas or realms of reality--the devas, asuras, humans, beasts, pretas and inhabitants of hell--is in fact a metaphorical but precise description of this world and the inequalities that exist in it, with the devas sitting in luxury and judgement on the rest, the asuras fighting to keep the devas in their high position, the humans getting by as humans do, the beasts laboring as beasts do, the homeless preta suffering in fear at the edge of hell, and the inhabitants of hell enslaved to pure immiseration.

I will admit that there were things about this book that I didn't particularly like. I had expected something much different (based on the publisher's summary), so I was initially disappointed by the content. The transitions from life to afterlife were confusing and never really amounted to anything, as far as I could tell. And the ending, though happy, didn't really wrap up all the "loose ends" of the story. Nothing was explained (at least not in a way that a simple guy like me could understand). I found the insights into the eastern religions to be educational (I'm assuming they were factual representations) and the alternate advancement of society to be very interesting, but the book (almost 700 pages) was slow and difficult, at times, to read. Kim Stanley Robinson is no Grisham when it comes to creating fiction that draws the reader in, but he does have a good many thought-provoking insights that I could appreciate.

Here was one such passage concerning the evolution of religion:

So you see systems of thought and religion coming out of the kinds of societies that invented them. The means by which people feed themselves determine how they think and what they believe. Agricultural societies believe in rain gods and seed gods for every manner of thing that might affect the harvest (China). People who herd animals believe in a single shepherd God (Islam). In both these kinds of cultures you see a primitive notion of gods as helpers, as big people watching from above, like parents who nevertheless act like bad children, deciding capriciously whom to reward and whom not to, on the basis of craven sacrifices made to them by the humans dependent on their whim. The religions that say you should sacrifice or even pray to a god like that, to ask them to do something material for you, are the religions of desperate and ignorant people. It is only when you get to the more advanced and secure societies that you get a religion ready to face the universe honestly, to announce there is no clear sign of divinity, except for the existence of the cosmos in and of itself, which means that everything is holy, whether or not there be a god looking down on it.

There were many other passages that I found equally or more thought-provoking, but I didn't have the foresight to mark those other passages, so unless I get ambitious and decide to dig through the 650 pages of text, you will have to find them yourself.

Here is one last passage I will share, regarding the makings of great men:

"...what has mattered are the moments of exposure in every life, when habit is no longer enough, and choices have to be made. That's when everyone becomes the great man, for a moment; and the choices made in these moments, which come all too frequently, then combine to make history. In that sense I suppose I come down on the side of the masses, in that it has been a collective process, whatever else it is. "Also, this formulation 'the great man' of course should also bring up the question of women; are they included in this description? Or should we describe history as being the story of women wresting back the political power that they lost with the introduction of agriculture and the creation of surplus wealth? Would the gradual and unfinished defeat of patriarchy be the larger story of history? Along with, perhaps, the gradual and uncertain defeat of infectious disease? So that we have been battling microparasites and macroparasites, eh? The bugs and the patriarchs?

If you are a fan of historical fiction, eastern religion/cultures, or even alternate histories, read this book. It will be worth your while. It does feel a little bit "preachy" at times, but it is interesting.

Movie Reviews
After the Sunset

I have to admit that I had never heard of this film before stumbling upon it on DVD. It has a moderately impressive cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson (okay, so maybe that's not very impressive), and Don Cheadle. The premise sounded suspiciously like Brosnan's other film, The Thomas Crown Affair, so I didn't expect much. And the film lived up to those expectations.

The film in a nutshell: Pierce Brosnan's character and Salma Hayek's character are renowned jewel thieves being sought by the FBI. After a particularly humilating theft (for the FBI agent played by Woody), they retire to a Carribean island to live out their days in paradise. Somehow Woody's FBI agent tracks them and entices Brosnan's character to steal another priceless diamond. He does and Salma leaves Brosnan for not really "retiring" as Woody proceeds to steal the diamond from Brosnan. In the end, Brosnan gets revenge on Woody, get Salma back and lives happily ever after. There's more to it than that (I haven't even mentioned Cheadle's caracter), but you'll have to watch it to get the details.

The deleted scenes on the DVD actually helped explain some of the more confusing moments. It was never really explained that Salm aand Brosnan were engaged. The final scene with the wedding vows felt out of place without viewing the deleted scenes. There was something else that was explained, but I forget what it was now.

The best thing about this film was the lovely Salma Hayek. The film itself was a bust; the premise was uninteresting and there were no real "unexpected" plot twists, comic moments or even action sequences to keep the viewer's attention.


I really didn't have any desire to see this CGI cartoon. But my kids were dying to see it, so I broke down and took them.

Here is the basic plot of the film: A lion, Alex, and a zebra, Marty, are best friends in a New York Zoo. Marty dreams f life in the wild while Alex is satisfied with his life in the zoo's spotlight . The duo escape, with their hippo and giraffe friends, but are captured and returned to the zoo. Public outcry mandates that they be sent to their African homeland and they are loaded in crates on a ship bound for Africa. Before it can reach its destination, the ship is hijacked by a band of bond-like penguins and an unfortunate turn send the four friends overboard, where they drift to shore in their crates (more or less). The island turns out to be Madagascar. The four learn about their "wild" sides that were subdued by life in the zoo and lots of stuff happens. I won't ruin it for those of you who may have the desire to someday see this film.

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't a movie for adults. My youngest daughter was laughing hysterically at parts of the film that I found only mildly amusing.

Mr and Mrs Smith

I was surprised by how funny Mr. And Mrs. Smith was. I was expecting an action movie from the 007 school of film making, but was surprised to find that this was an action-comedy with an emphasis on the "comedy."

The basic plot: A male and female assassin get married (without revealing their true vocations to one another) and several years later are suffering from marital discord from the obvious strains their jobs put on the marriage. As the film progresses, each learns that the other is employed by a competing organization and sets out to kill the other. Neither is successful and when their respective agencies turn on them, they team up for survival.

The ending was disappointing and goofy, but wasn't bad enough to ruin the film (for me, anyway). Angelina Jolie looked amazing. She looked better in this film than in any of her prior roles that I have seen her in, except maybe that classic, Hackers (I keed, I keed). Brad Pitt did a good job as the sterotypical average guy. And Vince Vaughn played his usual goofball/slacker role. He's always good for a laugh.

There were a couple of really funny parts. My favorite was a running gag about Brad Pitt's character saying they had been married for "five years," only to be corrected every time by Angelina's character, "six years." After which, he would respond..."five, or six years." And during another scene, Angelina's character discovered Pitt's character had been married and asked "What's her name and Social Security Number?" to which Pitt responded, "No,'re not going to kill her!" Funny stuff.


This wasn't the worst ex-SNL actor-centric movie I have ever seen, but it wasn't anywhere near the best. It had its funny moment (the funniest part is in the DVD extras), but this isn't a DVD that I'm going to rush out and buy. The movie in a nutshell: Jimmy Fallon's character is a police detective who is a horrendous driver. After one vehicle-mishap too many, he is put on foot patrol. While hoofing it around town, he hears news of a bank robbery. He tries to commandeer a taxi cab driven by Queen Latifah's character, but ends up being driven to the scene of the crime and pursuing the robbers in the cab. In the end, the bad girl bank robbers (one of whom is Gisel Bundchen) are caught by the dynamic duo and everybody lives happily ever after...predictable cheesy happy ending.

The DVD had deleted scenes (not especially funny), a gag reel (yawn) and a few other goodies. One of the other goodies was a Comedy Central "behind the scenes" show with a couple of the "cop" actors from Reno 9-1-1 going on a ride along with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. The two of them are are horrible and obnoxious and it's the funniest thing on the DVD.

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© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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