24: The Ultimate Jack Bauer Supercut

I have to admit that I never saw seasons 7 and 8 of ’24’. My daughter was two months old when season 7 began. I think that explains what happened there….

It’s on Amazon streaming now. I’m tempted to go back, but then I also have never seen the two seasons of “Daredevil” on Netflix, or a million other things that would take less time to watch. UGH.

We live in a frustrating era of everything being available and no time to consume even a small percentage of it…

But, thanks to YouTube, I can relive a small portion of those glory days when I did…

Here, then, is the Jack Bauer Yelling and Cursing (“Damn it, Chloe!”) supercut. So much awesome, so little time.

“I’m Offended! I’m Just Unsure HOW!”

We live in a day and age of outrage.  Perceived prejudice lives around every corner.

Internet commenters just can’t get enough of it, in particular.  So when the Wall Street Journal published a piece on Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, and the commenters start piling on for her questionable success at the company (to be fair, they ARE selling the company), someone sees something wrong and calls out his/her fellow commenters on it:

WSJ comments on Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer

Personally, I think if you’re going to find fault with the cis het white women (did I miss anything?) Mayer’s job performance at Yahoo, it would likely be due to reasons of sexism. Maybe misogyny, more specifically.  The frequent references to “that girl” kind of fan those flames…

But, hey, just in case, “something like that” should cover all your other “ism”s nicely.  Don’t leave anyone out!

I have to admit, though, that I did giggle a bit at another commenter who joked (I think) that she had played Diane on “Cheers.”  She’s got the perfect look for that.

Liszt’s Totentanz on Video!

Ten years ago, I discovered and bought a DVD of pianist Valentina Lisitsa performing the etudes of Franz Liszt, my favorite classical composer.

My favorite work of Liszt’s, as I mentioned at the time, is his Totentanz, a dark high energy piece that ranges up and down the keyboard, moves quickly, and then repeats. Love it.

Recently, I rediscovered Lisitsa on YouTube, where she’s kept very busy for the last decade. You don’t need to go to her website anymore to watch WMV files anymore — one autoplays when you load up her website.

But it made me idly look up “Totentanz” again on YouTube. There are two separate performances of the piece by Lisitsa on YouTube. One was at a public piano, and the other was more carefully controlled in a studio environment.

I have to link to them here for posterity.

Skip over to the 7:00 mark to watch the hands fly…

So cool.

And, no, I didn’t go to that concert of hers ten years ago. Pity.

Diabetes Cured! Somehow! Only Type 2!

Here at VariousAndSundry, we scour the web for news of every new cure for diabetes that gets announced, while nobody is ever actually cures.

Today comes news that scientists have once again cured diabetes.

In rats.

With Type 2 diabetes.

But they don’t know how.

Yup, this will go far…

It does all lead to this delightful turn of phrase:

But because scientists already have the protocols and know-how to safely deliver FGF1 to human noggins via intranasal routes, moving toward clinical trials seems like a no brainer, they argue.  

They can insert this into your brain through your nose!  YES!  SIGN ME UP!  Wait, no, I’m Type 1.  Nevermind.

 

Drawing Abbey Chase for #MerMay

Former Disney animator and current podcaster, Tom Bancroft, came up with the idea of #MerMay, where you draw a mermaid/merman everyday for a month.  You can see his on his Tumblr.

While I’ve been a day or two behind the entire way, I’m doing my best to complete the mission.  I hope to be caught up just in time for the month’s end.

My drawing process is usually that I do a sketch in pencil in my sketchbook, scan that in, and then ink and color it in Clip Studio Paint.  This video (using Screenflow) shows all the digital work for the Abbey Chase mermaid I drew last night, after the scan has been loaded up.

The full video ran 20 minutes, so I sped it up to about two and a half. Here we go:

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: That gun is awful.

All of my #MerMay drawings can be found on my Instagram page.

 

Finally, They’ve Restored The Marx Bros.

At least five of the original movies have been digitally cleaned up and, in some cases, with lost or cut footage restored.

I watched a couple of these movies last year and loved them all over again, but wondered why nobody had come in and done a better restoration.  I figured it was a money thing and there wasn’t enough interest in it from studios too busy putting out billion dollar blockbusters.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

There’s no planned Blu-ray release schedule yet, but I’m sure we’ll get one eventually.  I am a patient man.

Schade points out that a print of Animal Crackers was located in the British Film Institute archives, and it contains bits of monkey business that were cut by American censors, including the excised lyric “I think I’ll try and make her” from the song “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” as well as a bit where Harpo, rolled-up newspaper in hand, plays “slap-ass” with a society dame.

Hello, Nurse!

Update: I first wrote of my excitement about the Marx Bros. movies coming to DVD in 2004 on this very blog.  The money quote from that:

Yes, five others were released years ago, but they received no special attention. There aren’t any special bonus features added to them, the prints weren’t cleaned up at all, and they were released almost like they were public domain films someone was trying to dump.

It only took twelve years (or more)…

The Greatest Quora Answer of All Time

My vote for Best Quora Answer Ever is still this answer from Elliot S. Maggin (yes, the comic writer) about security for the President.  Makes me wonder jow many other great stories there are out there…

On a whim, a friend of mine went to play a round of golf at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles one day. Somewhere among the first nine holes he realized that the foursome behind him included the then-current sitting president, Bill Clinton. My friend looked around, noted that the big golf course was surrounded on all sides with hills peppered with high-end houses.

 

Click through for the rest…

The Day the Bird Died

It’s the 15th anniversary of that fateful day of Major League Baseball when a bird flew in the way of a Randy Johnson pitch and instantly exploded/vaporized.

 

Mourning Dove, like the one Randy Johnson hit

By derivative work: Snowmanradio (talk)Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg: Don DeBold – originally posted to Flickr as Dove by Almaden Lake and uploaded to commons as Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4680992

 

Newsweek asked some ornithologists for their thoughts on the incident.  The best one is in the conclusion:

There are many reasons why Mr. Johnson should not feel bad about this event. First, the mourning dove is one of the most common species in urban areas of Arizona and across the country, and it is not a species of conservation concern. So he didn’t impact the future of a species or anything like that. Second, although he did hit the bird outside of the dove season in Arizona, which happens in September, it is a game species, and there are plenty of hunters who wish they could get off such a clean shot. Third, millions of birds are killed each year by outside cats, glass windows, wind turbines, airplanes and other human-related problems. So in perspective, it is just an amazing coincidence that got caught on camera.

Buy Clip Studio Paint for $20 This Weekend

Clip Studio Paint box art

Clip Studio Paint is the digital drawing program that’s used by, according to its maker, 1.5 million people in the world. It’s an amazing program for creating digital art, particularly comic-related art. The higher end version of the program comes complete with all sorts of functionality for creating comics, from projects with pages to export to EPUB capabilities.

A new update just hit this week, and the program’s makers are celebrating with a big sale through this weekend. CSP is as low as $20 for the next couple of days. If ever you wanted to jump in, this is your change.

Wait, What About Manga Studio?


This is Manga Studio. I’m not entirely sure I understand the whole story, but “Clip Studio Paint” is the name the developers in Japan gave it. SmithMicro renamed it “Manga Studio” when it began distributing it in North America. Now, they’re going back to the original name.

“Manga Studio” wasn’t a great name, but it worked well enough. “Clip Studio Paint” is a mouthful that is almost meaningless in the English language. But it’s just name, and so we move on. I’ll refer to it as “CSP” from here on out.

There Are Two Versions?

Yes, and here’s where the naming gets worse. The base model is named “Pro”, while the model aimed at comic book professionals is named “EX.”

No, I don’t have that backwards. Yes, really. That’s what it is.

What Do They Cost?

Here, take a look:

Clip Studio Paint Price Comparison Chart

That’s $20 for the low end and $87 for the high end this week, where they’re normally $48 and $210. It’s a great deal. SmithMicro runs deals on the software occasionally throughout the year, but this is as low as it usually gets.

What is the Difference?

Like I said before, it’s mostly that the high end version (“EX”) comes with the functionality to make comic books. The lower end (“Pro”) just lets you do images. You can assemble them yourself later.

Also, there’s some 2D and 3D modeling techniques that you’ll need to buy EX to get.

The top of the SmithMicro comparison chart summarizes most of the differences:

Clip Studio Paint Features Comparison

What’s New?

This new upgrade features the ability to do animation. Not 3D puppetry animation. (SmithMicro has another program for that.) No, this is old school, onion-skin animation. Make a drawing, flip back and forth, make the next one on top, watch it ‘move.’ I was looking for a “cheap” program to do something like this with last year and couldn’t find anything. Now, it’s built into CSP. That’s a good deal.

While this animation functionality is available in both versions, the Pro edition limits you to 24 frames, or what they assume will be 3 seconds.

Wait, What New File Format?

I didn’t mention it yet. You must be reading my mind.

Doug Hills points out the updated file format.

The long and short of it is that the new CSP uses an updated file format. It can read the old file format just fine, but previous versions of Manga Studio won’t be able to read these new CSP files. The .lip file is now going to be a .clip file. That kinda makes sense, actually. It might be the first good renaming strategy I’ve mentioned in this post.

Can My Mac Handle CSP?

Most likely. It’s guaranteed to work with the last three generations of Mac OS X. You can also download an older version if you have an older Mac OS, if you really want.

Officially, the line is 2 GB of Ram and an Intel Code Duo chip. I think your computer can handle that, if it’s less than five to seven years old.

Can My Windows PC Handle CSP?

Most likely. Windows 7 or better, 2 GB of RAM, and off you go. See all the specs here.

How Much Fun Is Drawing With A Mouse?

Very little. It can be done, but — no, just don’t. CSP supports a bunch of tablets, including all of the Wacom ones. It also works on other pen displays, like the Yiynova one I use relentlessly.

What Other Resources Do You Have?

How Do I Get Started?

Watch Doug Hills’ YouTube videos. Here’s the introductory channel, and his most recent Patreon-funded one, Manga Studio Guide.

If you do have a pen display kind of thing, be sure to bookmark this explanation for how to move CSP to your second screen.

And, of course, you can buy the software at the SmithMicro site always. But order it this weekend to get the sale price!

Go is the New Poker?

And so it ends, with Google’s AI winning 4 out of 5 Go games against a top Korean player.

A few days ago, this part of an article after the third game caught my eye:

The machine plays like no human ever would—quite literally. […] The result is a machine that often makes the most inhuman of moves.

 

This happened in Game Two—in a very big way. With its 19th move, AlphaGo made a play that shocked just about everyone, including both the commentators and Lee Sedol, who needed nearly fifteen minutes to choose a response. The commentators couldn’t even begin to evaluate AlphaGo’s move, but it proved effective. Three hours later, AlphaGo had won the match.  


Remember when the amateur players flooded the poker playing community about 15 years ago? Just after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker?  Many long time professionals were baffled.  The new kids were playing a completely different game, often informed by playing thousands of hands of poker — often four or more at a time — at home on their computers.

The game changed and everyone had to adapt.

Many professional poker players adapted by taking on endorsement deals, hitching their stars to shady on-line poker sites, and teaching the game.

Isn’t that always the way, though?  The first to make money wind up teaching it to the throngs who want to follow in their footsteps. And 99% of them won’t, but they’ll splash some money around, anyway.