Monday, August 18, 2003

Includes grumble, review, recipes, etc.

To buck the trend on 1602 messages, then, here's one saying...I've read the first issue, and I like it, BUT! WHOSE idea was IT to EMPHASISE every other WORD any CHARACTER says to ANOTHER CHARACTER? because IT gets REALLY really REALLY annoying SOMETIMES. Y'know, novels generally just assume the reader can figure out where the emphasis is, and this doesn't seem to happen so badly in your other why in this one? It really breaks up the flow of dialogue, unfortunately.


Actually, I pretty much agree -- if I'd known it was going to be in upper and lower case lettering when I wrote the script, I certainly wouldn't have used so many stressed words. I actually like them when you're doing all-upper-case lettering; I can use them to show what the stresses are, and try and push the words over into something that you hear rather than see. (Look at classic Eisner's SPIRIT lettering, or some of Dave Sim's Cerebus lettering to see what I mean.)

Once it moves into upper and lower case (it was an edict from Marvel, not something I chose), I think you read it more like prose, and the stressed words tend to attract attention, rather than disappear into the balloon. So there's an awful lot less stressed stuff later on in 1602.

(There was a reason why Dream, who spoke in upper and lower case, rarely stressed anything after the first couple of issues, when I saw what it looked like, in Sandman.)


Let's see...

WOLVES IN THE WALLS reviews have started showing up -- I keep meaning to post some (and may indeed already have):


And for anyone wondering about the Edinburgh Fringe production of Smoke and Mirrors here's an on-the-spot review...

Hi Neil,

I sent in a few months back on this line about Smoke and Mirrors at the Edinburgh Fringe. Just back from a weekend in Edinburgh, and caught the Saturday night show. Was slightly worried it'd be empty (the perennial risk of attending any Fringe show) but it was quite busy. Maybe 70% full. It was only when I got into my seat I realised I might not want to see the stories interpreted by someone else. But it turned out fine :)

The White Road was very well paced, with some minimal set dressing giving it a nicely antiquated feel. I had forgotten the exact details of the story, but the tone suited my memory of it. The details came flooding back as it progressed. Mr Fox came off innocent and victimised, and the fox-lady was devious and sneaky :) As I said it was well paced; Fox's fiancee built her story up effectively - her account of her dream conjured up the imagery with great effect - and the climax was frenetic but very very very good. The way you noticed Mr Fox trying to point out that the 'hand' was indeed a paw, but the innkeeper was too quick for him. Mr Fox's closing monologue was done in near-darkness, after he had been attacked and the fox-lady was leaving. The delivery was careful and measured, and when I checked my book again today I realised that you had written it as poetry, which was appropriate.

When We Went To See The End Of The World was done with just Dawnie standing in front of the audience with a jotter in hand. It was the same actress that was the fox-lady, but you wouldn't have really noticed. She mixed some cutesie cutesie laugh moments in with some chilling moments. I really liked how the fantastical elements of the story (such as crossing twilight or the unicorn encounter) just came off commonplace. One of the things I always liked about the story and it came across really well in the show.

We Can Get Them For You Wholesale started off much more for laughs than I imagined, with Peter being very very geeky :) But this all made sense too, especially considering his nature. The ending was necessarily changed, with 'the thing' becoming a ice-hockey masked, boiler-suited chainsaw-wielding maniac. This was the only thing throughout the whole show I wasn't so keen on, but it certainly gave shock value to end your night on (and send you out into some gothic streets thinking about...)

All in all very worth it. Actors were all really good, especially the guy who played Mr Fox/Burton Kemble, even though he didn't have a lot of lines. The sight of his grinning paled face sitting in the dark while Peter was compiling his lists was quite eerie :)

I've never experienced your words read out loud, and this show didn't disappoint. Moving, chilling, grin-making, lots of things. I know they've done the work in staging all this and financing, and they should be proud of what they've done, but it's your words and the show works well because of what you gave them


Which certainly makes me want to see it.

And when this came in I assumed it would be the last word on Blue Moon Ice Cream...

I just read your journal entry that mentioned Blue Moon ice cream. Blue Moon has been my favorite flavor since I was very young. I always thought it tasted like the milk that's left in the bowl after eating Fruit Loops. I've tried several brands, and I think The Chocolate Shoppe in Madison, WI has the best. Babcock Hall Ice Cream (served at the University of Wisconsin's Unions and food service) has a decent blue moon as well. The flavor is stronger than the Chocolate Shoppe's, but less creamy.

Your remark made me curious about what that flavor really is so I did some not-very-in-depth searching. I never did come up with a definitive answer, but there are certainly are a lot of people out there who like it! Here's just some of what I discovered in my fruit-loops-ful search: calls it "Smooth and creamy and a very popular flavor, spend a little time under the night sky and try some Blue Moon!"

The Chocolate Shoppe's blue moon is "creamy ice cream with a "Fruit Loops" cereal flavor and a wacky blue color."

Here's a recipe for a home version. It contains pineapple and blue curacao. I may have to try this and see how close it comes.

The Cedar Crest site describes it as "Sky-blue Cedar Crest Ice Cream, with a blue flavor to match."
But according to an article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online "the Blue Moon flavor in Cedar Crest ice cream actually is almond." (This article also mentions a slew of other Blue Moon flavored foods and beverages.)
Almond doesn't sound right to me at all, I think I'll have to see if I can track down some of Cedar Crest's blue moon. I'm off to the store, wish me luck!


P.S. Good luck to Holly in college--although anyone discerning enough to like Blue Moon will certainly do just fine.

Madison Punk Rock!

Now, I'm thinking that pineapple and almond taste nothing at all alike, even when coloured a particularly violent shade of blue, when this arrives, to shed more light on it. Or less...

Hi Neil,

Blue Moon ice cream is made from cantaloupe. At least, it was at Canon's on the south border of Cleveland, where I grew up. And I've found an indicator that this is the case elsewhere:
So, enjoy. It's good for you!

-joe in San Rafael, CA

and I'm just pondering the canteloupe possibilities, when I read this:

hello neil,

blue moon ice cream! i've only seen that once, and it was while on vacation at a tiny ice cream shop in manistique, michigan. i was wary of doing a search on it because i always thought it was one of those quirky midwest/upper peninsula things but, according to this website (, that's exactly what it is. most people can only find it in the UP and wisconsin. i think it tastes faintly of marshmallows, though it's been years since i've had any. i paid a dear price for it, too, since it was gotten on a bit of adventure my cousin and i weren't supposed to be having (i was all of 14 at the time) and almost had to walk the twenty miles back to our house in gulliver. so that is blue moon ice cream, and the mystery still holds.

andrea norstad

and now marshamallows enters the picture, and I realise there's also a whole website filled with comments from people who also don't know what flavour Blue Moon is....

Several people wrote to say "It tastes BLUE" but it doesn't, not really, not in the way that certain pink desserts taste pink, anyway. I suspect that the genius of Blue Moon ice cream is that if it were, say, canteloupe orange, you'd go "Ah, it's canteloupe flavour" (if it was) and never think about it twice. Whereas it's the gulf between the vivid blueness of the colour and the pineapple flavour (or the marshmallow-almond. Or whatever it is) that makes it work.


Nice Hair is pretty damn funny webcomic that makes fun of you and Tim Burton. Don't sue anyone.

Okay. I won't sue anyone. That was easy.