A few miles from Hearst Castle, a trash collector spent fifty years cobbling together his house out of junk and found objects. As Cambria became more trendy in the 1970s, neighbors wanted him to tear down the multi-level “eyesore,” while others saw “Nitt Witt Ridge” as a folk art monument. It’s still there, and still a controversy within the city and its historical society.

This seems like the kind of roadside construction that would fit in with American Gods’ cosmology. More like The House on the Rock than Hearst Castle, despite the proximity.

And it turns out that the first of Wyland’s 100+ whale murals, on the wall of a Laguna Beach hotel, was later painted over as an “eyesore.” (C’mon, really?) But since then, a friend of his bought the building, and he’s recreating the original mural. On canvas this time, so he can move it if anything happens to the wall!

I’ve just started re-reading Neverwhere. When Richard and Door first meet — after her injury has started to heal, anyway — he introduces himself as “Richard. Richard Mayhew. Dick,” A page or two later, Door calls him “Richardrichardmayhewdick.”

IIRC Neil Gaiman said he stole the joke from Douglas Adams, who had someone refer to “Dentarthurdent” in one of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, but I always think of a Charlie’s Angels episode in which someone greeted “Bosleyjohnbosley.”

The thing is, I barely remember Charlie’s Angels, so the way I remember it is actually as “Bosleytombosley” … and in my memory, she’s saying it to Tom Bosley!

Neil Gaiman remarked on his blog that images his agent emails from Germany end up with the colors inverted, and posts an example of a Coraline poster:

Coraline (German, inverted colors)

“…ah yes, I thought. That’s the sequel, all right. CORALINE APOCALYPSE”

I used to run into this with TIFF images when building websites. (No big surprise, given that there are a million variations on the TIFF format.) I think it was around 2000 or so that I was working on a website for a law firm, and they sent me their logo. The logo, as I received it, was yellow on light blue, so I built a site with black text on a white background for the main areas, and yellow on light blue (matching their logo) for the title, navigation, and borders.

I sent them a link to the test site. They looked at it, and said it was very nice, but could I try to match the color scheme on their logo instead?

It turned out that red and blue had gotten switched around (and possibly more, because I can’t remember how the yellow ended up in there), but anyway it was supposed to be white on light brown. I switched the channels, redid all the graphics and styles for the site, and they stuck with it for several years.

Back on the subject of Coraline, Gaiman adds in his post that the film has become “the second highest grossing stop-motion film ever” after Chicken Run. So why does it seem to be forgotten already? Just two months ago, commentators were falling all over themselves to say Coraline was the turning point for 3-D animation being part of the storytelling and not just a gimmick. Now everyone’s talking about how Monsters vs. Aliens is the turning point for 3-D animation being part of the storytelling and not just a gimmick.

Found this ad for Coraline in this morning’s newspaper:

Coraline: The Other Mother's Chocolate-Covered Beetles!

It’s kind of hard to read, between the pixel size and the printing, but the funniest bit is the blue sidebar on “Finding the Tastiest Beetles:”

Beetles are delicious creatures that live close to home. If you use beetles from your backyard or basement, check them for shiny and fully developed thoraxes (beetles still in larval stage will be chewy and bland). The most mouth-watering kind, with translucent shells and large veins, can be found in the forests of Zanzibar.

It’s so perfectly Martha Stewart for the Macabre.

Some entertainment stuff I’m looking forward to this year:

Movies: Coraline

YouTube also has the trailer in HD.

I discovered Sandman late, borrowing the trades from one of my (younger) brother’s friends around 1998 or so, then immediately tracking down my own copies. I lucked out and got a complete set on eBay for something like $70. Since then I’ve devoured most of Neil Gaiman’s work, be it in comics, prose, or movie form. The original novel of Coraline was very good, and it’s been adapted by the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is among my favorite movies…and what I’ve seen of the film suggests that they get it. It’s hard to believe it’s only two weeks away!

Other movies: Oddly enough, I’m only mildly interested in Terminator: Salvation, Transformers 2: Can’t Remember the Subtitle, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the films have been steadily deteriorating after peaking with #3, IMHO), Star Trek, and Watchmen. I’ll probably see all of them, but none of them have me nearly as excited.

Comics, books, music, etc. after the cut: Continue reading