A Couple of Quizzes

September 28, 2007 at 4:42 pm (Greeks, Heroes, quiz)

I was surprised by the results of this quiz…

Your Score: Peter Petrelli

You scored 54 Idealism, 58 Nonconformity, 33 Nerdiness

Do you ever… get the feeling that you were meant to do something extraordinary?
Congratulations, you’re Peter Petrelli! You are a compassionate, idealistic person, which is great. You’re searching for your identity and purpose in life, and you have a strong desire to be special, and do something great for the world. You’re a bit on the emo side, but you have the best of intentions.Your best quality: Empathy
Your worst quality: EMO

Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

…and then I thought this one was trying to inflate my ego…

Your Score: The Oracle

33% Extroversion, 80% Intuition, 44% Emotiveness, 90% Perceptiveness

Heuristic, detached, and analytical to a fualt, you are most like The Oracle. You are able to tackle any subject with a fine toothed comb, and you possess an ability to pinpoint nuances and shades of meaning that other people do not have and cannot understand. Accomplishment and realization of ideas are, for you, secondary to the rigorous exploration of ideas and questions — you are, first and foremost, a theorist. You hate authority, convention, tradition, and under no circumstances do you accept a leadership role (although, you will gladly advise leadership when they’re going astray, whether they want you to or not). Abstraction and generalities are your interests, details and particulars are usually inconsequential and uninteresting. You excel at language, mathematics and philosophy.

You are typically easy-going and non-confrontational until someone violates one of the very few principles that you deem sacred, at which point you can fly into a rage. Although you possess a much greater understanding of process and systems than the people around you, you are always conscious of the possibility that you’ve missed something or made a mistake. You don’t tend to become attached to particular theories, and will immediately discard mistaken notions once they’re revealed to be incorrect (but you don’t tolerate iconoclasts who try to discredit validated theories through the use of fallacies and bad data). Despite being outwardly humble, you probably think of yourself as being smarter than most other people. That’s because you are. In fact, in your dealings with people your understanding of their motives is so expansive that you know what they’re going to say before they say it, and in world affairs, you usually know what is going to take place before it actually does. This ability would make you unbeatable in debates if only you were a little less pensive about your own conclusions, and a little more outgoing.

Famous people like you: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John McWhorter, Ramanujan, Marie Curie, Kurt Godel

Stay clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite

Seek out: Atlas, Prometheus, Daedalus

Link: The Greek Mythology Personality Test written by Aleph_Nine on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

…and now I wonder: is the quiz trying to be funny by spelling fault incorrectly?

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Test Your Might

September 28, 2007 at 11:00 am (agony, Blogroll, cartoon, cheese, faces which amuse me, friends, music video)

So, for about a week I’ve been trying to find a “welcome to the blogosphere!” clip for Amanda that is cute, obnoxious, and sinister. You know, like a kender. This is the best I could come up with.

And with that, a hearty welcome. How ’bout some blogging advice? Don’t let the fact that you may not have posted for a month or so prevent you from posting at all. I mean, I don’t.

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My Problem with “In Search of Steve Ditko”

September 22, 2007 at 4:52 pm (Alan Moore, comics, long post Strong Bad! long post!, Neil Gaiman, Shade: The Changing Man, Steve Ditko, too many tags, writers)

First off, before I state my case against the documentary, I am by no way or means an expert on comics. It has been only in recent years that I’ve become interested in the art form and my involvement has been as a reader and not a collector.

So. In Search of Steve Ditko is a documentary that comes to us by way of Jonathan Ross and Channel 4 that explores the reclusive comic book artist and co-creator of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and many other superheroes. It also stars titans of the medium such as Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and of course, the master showman, Stan Lee. For the most part, I found the doc informative and entertaining but something was wrong, something was missing from their characterization of Mr. Ditko.

Naturally, there was a summary of the illustrator’s career in which the tale was told of how he came to leave Marvel Comics and his further “less-successful” development. The story ranged from psycho-tropic imagery mixing with his conservatism to his take on the Vietnam war with Hawk and Dove. This was wrapped up with the lackluster creation of the Creeper for DC Comics whose absurd powers Alan Moore described as the ability to”laugh at will”.

What was most compelling about this analysis was Ditko’s super-hero Mr. A, a black or white, good or evil moralist who’s didactic preaching was influenced by the writings of the philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand, as seen in the title of part three of Atlas Shrugged, A is A. If I recall correctly, most of the experts on the show attributed this black or white, no shades of gray world-view onto the creator of the character due to his past disagreements with Stan Lee and the anecdotal evidence of Alan Moore. One of the magician’s bands even has a song called Mr. A based on his meeting with Ditko which alone is worth watching the doc for.

Most of this characterization can be polarized by one of Ditko’s creations never mentioned in the documentary, Shade: The Changing Man. The exclusion of Shade is telling. Even the name of the character may be taken as a reference to the “shades of gray” opposed by the black and white of Mr. A. The powers of Shade’s M-Vest allowed the fugitive to appear however he liked and gave the anti-hero the ability to take advantage of the mental state of whoever saw him. Not to mention the anti-hero’s trials of clearing his own name have the didactic thrust of not trusting how things appear to be. Rather relativistic, don’t you think?

Due to this omission I believe it possible that the documentary left this particular creation out because it contradicted one of it’s implied thesis’: that Steve Ditko, legendary comic book illustrator that he is, may have been driven to reclusion and obscurity due to his espousal of the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It may be worth my mentioning that Ms. Rand herself was a recluse in her later years.

Now, I understand this was a short television doc and was possibly constrained for time. I also realize I know next to nothing about Steve Ditko himself. But I believe leaving out Shade is an injustice to the character and Ditko. It may not have been the most successful title in it’s own time but later it went on to become one of the first titles under the imprint of Vertigo. In Peter Milligan’s incarnation Shade becomes one of the most morally obtuse characters around (let alone his “retinue”) and I believe the roots for this trait are to be found in Ditko’s original.

Steve Ditko is certainly what one could refer to as a recluse. But his supposed black or white morality? I’m not so sure. Mr.A is certainly a didactic figure but what are we to make of Shade if that is the case? Could Ditko’s personal views have changed so drastically over the course of a decade?

Such a change is certainly possible and it should have been mentioned as such in this charming, though incomplete, documentary.

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Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!

September 19, 2007 at 9:23 am (cheese, comedy, obscure movie reference)

Is it an obscure movie reference if you have two blog posts related to said movie?

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A Memory of Light: Robert Jordan 1948-2007

September 17, 2007 at 1:50 pm (agony, Robert Jordan, writers)

The last nail is in the coffin, so to speak. My own memories of the man and his work are few, so I’ll keep it short.

My friend Jon introduced me to Jordan and his epic series The Wheel of Time after mentioning him as a favorite author on a plane ride to England four years ago. We had conversations of what we thought would happen next (I still like to think that Verin is somehow linked to Mat) as well as the crazy women depicted in the books which led to arguments on the merits of each of them (Faile isn’t that bad!). These debates or discussions lasted far into the night long after Jon’s wife Amanda had wisely gone to bed.

I also remember my anger at reading a local book review in Here magazine of Jordan’s Knife of Dreams and the reviewers complaint of whether the series would ever end. Little did she know that the author was sick, and that Jordan’s next book would be the last in tWoT as well. I still wonder whether the reviewer had even read the book or was just aware of the series as a whole…

I’m currently rereading this gentleman’s incomplete series for what I believe is the third time and discover that I’ll be approaching the work now with a bit more reverence then before.

But not too much. I doubt the creator of Nynaeve would care for such a sentiment.

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