Saturday, 6 February 1999:

Hanging Out

It seems that Fullfeed's Web server has been down since late last night (with perhaps a brief blip this morning). I sent mail to the support address, but nothing yet. So I guess you may not read this until it comes back on-line.

Today I got together with my friend Pat for the afternoon. For some reason, it seems like every time I get together with her, I have the pager from work. Fortunately, it almost never goes off. (Of course, the one time it did was when we were in a theatre waiting for the movie to start. Gah.)

She's going to throw me a going-away party next weekend, so we went to lunch and talked about that. She also wanted me to help her with some stuff on her computer, so I did that. After lunch we decided to go to the east side Borders Book Store, as I was still hoping (vainly, it turns out) that Vernor Vinge's new novel had hit bookstores. Maybe next week. Anyway, I did pick up Al Franken's new book, the hardcover reprint of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, and the first volume of a little (and I mean physically little, about 4" square) series on the history of architecture, with what looks like some nice color pictures despite the size of the volume.

I'm not sure why I'm buying all this stuff, since it will all go in storage in a few weeks anyway, and I won't have time to read it before then. Oh, well. At least I've managed to halt my bidding on eBay until I move.

So it was a good afternoon, also nice and warm, and I've felt the last few days like I can use all the company I can get. It's ironic; it seems like Pat and I have only really been becoming good friends in the last few years, and now I'm moving away. Sigh. Especially since it's very rare that I have friends whom I feel comfortable just hanging around with for an afternoon with few specific plans. Usually it feels uncomfortable to get together with someone without a plan. But's it's always great when neither of us has any commitments for the afternoon and we can just say, "Let's go do this." "Okay."

The rest of the day mainly involved reading: I finally got back to David Simon's Homicide book, on which the TV series was based. I also read the 12-issue comics series Captain Confederacy from a decade or so ago, involving superheroes on an alternate Earth in which the Confederacy gained independence from the US. It's okay, but Vince Stone's art is pretty rough (it improves considerably in Marvel's 3-issue follow-up series from a few years later), and the story is pretty loose and undirected.

I also started reading the 5 issues of Lone Wolf and Cub which I picked up last year for a proverbial song. Now, I've never been a fan of manga (Japanese comic books), and I generally loathe anime (Japanese cartoons), so I tend to stay away from both. (Much as I like Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics, I think he's completely 100% wrong about Japanese comic artwork. Especially when he claims that the reader can relate better to simplistically-drawn characters than to complex, detailed renderings; I feel exactly the opposite, that the simplistic figures are not even human and are impossible to relate to.)

As far as Lone Wolf and Cub goes, I find it very difficult to tell the figures apart, and the stories seem to be very focused and constrained - almost vignettes - in a setting with a very sketchy backdrop. The first issue is entertaining in a simplistic sort of way, but as you can tell I wasn't bowled over by it.

Beyond that, um, actually, that was pretty much it for my day.

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