Monday, September 24, 2007

8 Random Facts About Me

I blame Laelaps for this one. Curse you, Switek, and your infectious memes!

1) My favorite comic artist is Frank Cho, who is best known for his Liberty Meadows and University Squared comics. Cho has recently been hired by Marvel, and is now probably the best artist they have. He's doing an Avengers run right now, overseeing Jungle Girl, and capped off a seven-issue miniseries of Shanna: The She-Devil last year. The man is amazingly talented and brings together my two passions: Dinosaurs and pin-up style women. Except for Shanna, I don't buy any of his Marvel work because I don't support Marvel (or DC) for reasons I won't go into here.

2) Speaking of comics, I am of the opinion that newspaper dailies are wastes of time. After Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side left, there's just been this enormous chasm where intelligent, thought-provoking commentary no longer lives. Instead, we have jokey drama in For Better or For Worse, lack of effort in Garfield, LuAnn, and FoxTrot, and comics that shouldn't be running anymore, like Beetle Baily, Peanuts, and B.C. And they're all bad. And another thing--I hate Peanuts. It's not funny, and all the characters are depressing. Maybe it was funny back in the 1940's, but it's just not relevant today. And yet, despite the death of its author, Peanuts still runs via syndication in many, many newspapers, including mine. Makes me sick, and I haven't read the funnies in almost a year.

3) Although I'm a paleo-artist by trade, I still attempt, from time to time, to draw what I really want to draw: people. Humans are devilishly difficult to get right no thanks to our expressive faces and bizarre anatomy. Once you've dedicated yourself to quadrapeds, humans become hopelessly contrary to what you're used to. Scott Elyard (of Coherent Lighthouse fame) keeps telling me I need to draw from life, and I really should, because I have plenty of figurines around my house. The ultimate goal would be to write and draw my own comic book. Not publish or anything--just print it on nice paper to have, to say I did it. But life continually gets in the way.

4) I am in the process of writing a book. After two years, I am still in the brainstorming stage. It's going to be about dinosaurs, of course, but I'm having trouble identifying my audience and the goal of the hypothetical book. I'd love to do something about feathered dinosaurs and the transition from paravian to bird, seeing as that's my specialty, but I'm having trouble getting started. I'd also be illustrating the thing myself. Hmm...perhaps an edited volume. All of my paleo-blogger friends could contribute a chapter. Whadda ya say? :-D

5) I am a fairly hardcore gamer, and I am perfectly willing to admit that gaming often gets in the way of perhaps more useful things, like book-writing and comic-drawing. But dammit, I just get so much enjoyment out of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption that I'm nowhere near ready to give up that hobby. I am proud to say that I have a PS2, Wii, SNES, and Dreamcast hooked up to my 37" flatscreen, while a Nintendo DS Lite and PSP Slim are in a tupperware nearby. I sold my NES SP (a GBA model) a few weeks ago because the lithium ion battery was beginning to die, and I'll have to get another one of those if I want to play Kirby's Pinball Land and Link's Awakening again. See, it wouldn't be so bad if the DS played old Game Boy games, but that's not the case--it only plays GBA games, and I've kept a lot of old Game Boy games because they're so damn fun. So I'll have to get another GBA someday. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm gonna have to get a new compartmentalized shelving unit for my systems, because there are cords everywhere, which bugs me, and I'll need an input switcher because I'm running low on console input ports on the TV.

6) I like watching TV on DVD more than on TV. Part of this is because I hate watching commercials and I can't afford TiVo, but also it helps the continuity. Heroes is much more enjoyable when you can watch it episode-to-episode instead of week-to-week. My wife and I have gone through many a TV show on DVD including Sopranos, 30 Rock, Heroes, Desperate Housewives (well, she watched that one), Girls Next Door, and The Office. I very rarely buy TV shows on DVD, though, although because I'm such a huge Seinfeld fan (I have an autographed original script), I have to buy all the seasons of that show.

7) I think that scientific journals should offer free PDF's of all their articles. Scientific discovery is meant for everyone, not just people with fat wallets. Alaska has very few print resources when it comes to science (and especially paleo), and $30+ for an online five-page description of a new sauropod sems a little steep. BioOne is my new nemesis, as they conglomerate several scientific journals under one costly roof. In this instance I must thank all my blogger friends who send me articles when I beg for them. Without you guys, I would not be nearly as up-to-speed as I am today. Special thanks especially to Brian, Julia, Manabu, and Darren, who all feed my obsession on a regular basis.

8) Scott, his friends Brian and Raven, and I are all finishing up a Tyrannosaurus rex skull cast this weekend, and I'm going to take pictures of it. We've been working on the stupid thing for almost a year, volunteering every Saturday at the Alaska Museum of Natural History. The cast was essentially free from Treasures of the Earth--the AMNH just had to pay for shipping. Anyway, when the hollow, fiberglass monster was unpacked, it was a dull grey and displayed what appeared to be a botched casting job, as the seam produced a prominant "lip" along the left maxilla. There was also a problem with foam which I won't go into here, lest I collapse in a fit of tears and fury from the thought of that arduous period. At any rate, a huge portion of the skull was refinished by Brian and Raven, who are wise in the ways of model-making. The base coat (black) was applied last Saturday, and we'll finish up with a brown coat and some multi-color highlights this coming Saturday. And then we'll be done, and it shall be glorious.


Jacob Haqq-Misra said...

Hi Zach,

I just started reading your blog a few days ago, so it's nice to learn a little something about you. I certainly agree with you on #7.

I'm not from paleo myself, but from my field (astrobiology) your musings are certainly interesting!

Zach Miller said...

Thanks, Jacob. I do what I can!