Well, since then, people have been sending me feedback suggesting how I could have improved it further. Including, unbeknownst to me at the time, the actual album cover's creator, Nick Egan. (His suggestion for improving it was not to have modified it at all, naturally.)
Today, however, I got another email followed by what is quite possibly the best suggestion of them all via voicemail. I share them with you now:
Subject: YOU'RE A PRIZE GINGER CUNT, DUDE.
Who or what are you?
Opinions are a universal rite.
What you did deserves your balls kicking into your kidneys.
' I fixed it ' ? The most arrogant piece of shit I've ever read online in 16 years. Next time I'm over I'll come for a chat about poetry and music so I don't miss out on your wisdom. Saying shit like that with your phone number and address attached would get you bounced from here to FUCKING Spain where I'm from ... Dude. Don't get a life, give it up. Waste of food you cheeky prick.
Hope you fail in everything you do. You FUCKING Ginger Minge Tit .
It's kind of scary getting a (surprisingly polite) threatening voicemail message, but that scariness doesn't outweigh the irony of someone actually calling me to share his opinion regarding my not sharing my opinion.
Nick, it appears that my attempt to sound like a dumbass on the Internet has succeeded far better than I'd intended, which I truly regret. I really do hate that skateboard at the top, but that's just my opinion. 'Fixing' your album cover is purely in jest, however, and clearly falls under fair use / parody. As I think it's pretty clear by now that I'm just a dumbass and not intentionally trying to disrespect your or your work, I'd really appreciate it if you'd call off your goons. Thanks.
Know what bugs the crap out of me? The skateboard on the cover of INXS's album "Kick":
Pretty much everything about that skateboard bugs me. From the terrible comp job to the yellow Greg Proops face on it, it's just plain bad -- not to mention the fact that it's meant to look as if someone is actually riding it, somehow jumping to that position despite the fact that there's clearly no understanding of the mechanics of making a skateboard jump on the part of the artist.
Actually, now that I'm getting worked up, it ALSO bugs me that the logo text in the center of the cover is clearly pasted over-top of Michael Hutchence's hair, yet it's BEHIND The Hamburgler's hair, rubble rubble.
This cover is a travesty, and it offends me that someone actually got paid to make it.
So, rather than simply complain about it, I've decided to rectify the problems with it. From now on, please use this as the cover for INXS's Kick:
As you can see I've replaced the terrible skateboard with an actual action shot of a skater executing a kick-flip -- my little addition to making it relevant to the album's title -- and put the logo/title over-top of EVERYONE's hair. The design is still really awful, but at least the specific problems with it have been addressed.
If there's any work of art you'd like to see fixed, drop me a line and I'll see about fixing it for you.
While in Australia, D and I got invited over to one of her coworkers's place for Christmas. In addition to being awesome, this was a much better option than the Hooters plan I had earlier declared. There was much good food, much Mario Kart and Rock Band on their Wii, and lots of good hanging out with other North Americans.
While there, I was re-acquainted with the open source Xbox Media Center, which, since I last was aware of it, is now just 'XBMC' because it now runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and AppleTV. In the years since it left my awareness, it's also become FREAKIN' AWESOME. One of the really cool things it does now is fetch artwork and information about your television and movie files you watch with it from community-maintained sites, while looking really pretty:
Needless to say, the 5+ year-old MythTV setup we were using to play all the things we downloaded got replaced.
While watching programs, I've found that some of our more obscure programs are missing pretty artwork, so I've been dusting off my GIMP skills here and there making some. I've also been fulfilling requests from other less-artistic users, which is pretty good for the old sense of satisfaction of a job well done. It's no secret that I enjoy making things in GIMP, so I figured I'd make some stuff other people will find valuable instead of just silly fake movie posters to amuse myself. If you want to follow along at home, the stuff I've been making is viewable via the following links: banners , posters, backgrounds. The site is pretty klunky, but their API is pretty nice, allowing for anyone to use the artwork/descriptions in their tv-related applications.
The fun part is that theTVdb requires artwork to be of resolutions high enough to be problematic for those who just want to download some off google and upload them. In many cases, you have to 'make something out of nothing,' or, more accurately, out of many different nothings. Other than new serieses that provide lots of high-res wallpapers and stuff to work with, you end up crafting entire posters out of tiny little elements -- and, in many cases, filling in all the rest of it with nothing but your imagination.
With only 3 produced episodes, the first unsuccessful LAW & ORDER spin-off was scrapped due to the fact that, in the end, it was always Hitler that did it. All that remains of The History Channel's first dramatic series is this title screen:
I came up with this a few days ago and sprung it upon twitter. Benjamin seemed as excited by the prospect as I, so I figured I'd do what I could to make it a reality. Benjamin makes me happy pretty much every day, so now it's my turn to try and give something back to him.
Without further ado; Benjamin, this one's for you:
M. Night Shyamalan has made a number of good films. One of which, I'm betting you've never seen.
This unknown film is called Wide Awake, and a quick google search for reviews will turn up a number of people waxing rhapsodic about how wonderful this film is, and how sad it is that no one has ever heard of it, let alone seen it. The film was made pre-The Sixth Sense, and when that movie exploded, video copies of Wide Awake were re-released with a big blurb about how this film is from the creator of The Sixth Sense, but that didn't really help. And why didn't it help? Because this is the cover of said film:
Would you pick that film up off the shelf at your local video shop? Neither would I. The trouble is, this cover completely misleads the viewer about the content, tone, and POINT of the movie. Yes, Rosie O'Donnell is in the film, (And, I have to admit that she's actually darn good in it as well) but she is not the focal character of the film. Yes, there was something in there about baseball, but once again: that has nothing to do with the film. What looks like a cheeseball Rosie O'Donnell comedy is, in actuality, a remarkably wonderful film about a young boy coming to terms with the things he believes. It is incredibly touching, and everyone in the film gives stellar performances. Dennis Leary is particularly good in it. Sure, there are some funny moments, but to call the film a comedy would be greatly under-selling it.
I think whoever designed that cover did us film viewers a great disservice -- not to mention doing a disservice to M. Night himself; in my opinion this is the best of his films, and it's a shame he hasn't been paid its worth. In an effort to try to encourage other people to see this fine film, I decided to make a better cover for it. Now, I'm neither a marketer nor a designer, but seeing this cover on a shelf would make me pick it up. Hopefully it'll do the same for you:
Bonus points to anyone who prints it out and tapes it onto the disc at their local rental shop.
(This poster contains Creative Commons-licensed material from kadj, frankloohuis, and danwk71 and is licensed under a Creative Commons "do whatever you want as long as it doesn't make money" license, because that's how some of its parts are licensed.)
I made this last night for a silly photoshop contest, forgetting during its construction that the theme of the contest was "<i>horror</i> villains getting jobs." If there's blood and killing, it counts as horror right?
Several years ago someone discovered that if one removes all the speech bubbles from the comic strip Garfield, it becomes oddly surreal and much more interesting than originally intended. Garfield shows little emotion, behaving exactly as a real cat would. Without Garfield's verbal provocation to justify it, Jon's harried interactions with him become somewhat disturbing, oftentimes even depressing. This, to me at least, is a huge improvement over the original concept of the strip. You can see a bunch of examples of this treatment here.
More recently, someone has taken it a step further and removed Garfield from the strips altogether. This modification moves Jon from the role of the more traditional "cat owner," walking around talking to his pets as if they understand him, to that of a somewhat disturbed individual struggling with loneliness and desperation. In the prior modification, Jon's unprovoked pessimism seems out of place because Garfield is standing there smiling all the time; without Garfield being present at all, however, it ramps up to new levels of disturbnicity, bordering on schizophrenic. This is a significant step forward, making the strip into something I actually look forward to seeing, despite the blatant copyright violations involved in it being presented to me. You can view and subscribe to them here.
These two modifications got me thinking...
Since the removal of speech bubbles improved the strip so much, and the subsequent removal of Garfield even more so, I feel it's up to me to take the strip to the pinnacle of interestingness:
There you have it: confirmation that the removal of elements results in a better Garfield experience. The more elements you remove, the better it gets. I'm not sure of the logic behind this, but I suspect that it comes down to the fact that Garfield really sucks.
This does, however, give me an excuse to make another comic, and to point out that I will be posting them here from now on rather than over at comics.nyquil.org. (I don't make them nearly often enough to warrant a dedicated site for them. Plus, nobody knows comics.nyquil.org exists. Here, at least, people might see them.)
Without further ado, here's how I imagine this merger of loves: