I've been on Twitter now — @BrianLamken — for pretty much exactly six months.

Faithful readers here know that I periodically collect my Twits (which, 
as first noted when discussing Sonya from Sweden, I refuse to call "tweets") in posts like this. They also know that I've wrestled with how to incorporate Twitter, which I joined as much to connect with folks with whom I'd fallen out of touch as to share my particular brand of pith, into a daily life that isn't nearly as productive as I'd like and that is pretty much the opposite of conducive to something that requires constant interaction. Anyone reading this post after following a link on Facebook, I trust that either I've told you or you've sussed out that the same explanation holds at least in part for why it took me so long to join Facebook. 

Giving up Twitter several times but getting sucked back into it after checking the feeds of a few eminently followable people finally let me comfortably arrive at my current relationship with the service, which is to post links to my blogs when I remember, throw out some random humor when I can, even participate in conversations when I have the time and focus, all with the understanding that it's gonna come 'n' go. Twitter is basically a radio station made up of its users' contributions: It's always there, and you're guaranteed to miss out on stuff you'd love to hear, but you can't have it on all the time. You can't be "on" all the time. You just have to let yourself tune in when you can. Facebook and the blogosphere are — chat rooms and bulletin boards and Usenet newsgroups are/were, since the dawn of cyberspace — the same way, although Twitter is so high-volume and has so many streams that it's singularly impossible to catch everything (the understanding of which I think might ironically be an ingredient in what makes it easier to take it and leave it).

I realize that some of you may find the preceding ridiculously obvious, but from my experience several of you will understand where I'm coming from. Some folks have a literal mania about being comprehensive, some folks just think that they really can absorb it all, some folks don't feel that it's worthwhile (or representative of their own value as a participant) to take part in anything that they can't take part in completely. It can be hard to give in to the tide without feeling like you're letting the technology beat you, but actually in doing so you're the one controlling the technology. There ain't nobody gonna read the entire Internet, bubbeleh.

What follows are my Twits for a general audience, minus those that are scraps of a larger exchange, from the past couple of months. These latest Twits and those from previous posts are now on a dedicated page of the blog's called "Greatest Twits".

Fringe Thinking: This Boy

As most of us bask in the afterglow of the Winter Solstice holidays, anticipate New Year's festivities, and either curse or bless the dearth of new television, I've decided to go ahead and post my thoughts on...

Not to be confused with "Jenny 867-5309".

I considered waiting until just before Fringe returned for its final fortnight, but then realized that some folks might be using this fallow period as an opportunity to catch up on their viewing and/or their blogreading. So here's my scattershot analysis of the series' antepenultimate night, with the next hour to come on Jan. 11th before the double-shot finale airs on Jan. 18th.

See You Next B'ak'tun!

I got the above from the blog of Nikki Stafford, who doesn't know the source. Given that its focus is the prophecies of Nostradamus rather than the current hubbub, I suppose it could be from an actual Weekly World News front page of yesteryear rather than a gag mockup; Google image searches aren't turning up anything, nor is a quick survey of the Weekly World News website. Of course I realize that the world is not ending and that in fact all the apocalyptic frenzy is actually misinterpretation, playfully willful or otherwise, of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar, but just in c

Fringe Thinking: Glass Onion

More than once this season I've been particularly disappointed in an installment of Fringe one week only to have the following chapter stoke my enthusiasm considerably.

... was an inventive, at times elegiac episode that once again lifted me to heights of guarded optimism about the series wrapping up next month in a way that makes Season Five a worthy, even essential conclusion rather than merely a quirky coda to the past. It felt much more connected to Fringe as a whole, full of echoes and portents.

We got so many references to Fringe-gone-by, in fact, that I opted to use "Glass Onion" as the subtitle for this writeup instead of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

Keep On Walking

Photo from The Walking Dead 3.01 "Seed": Gene Page for AMC © 2012 
TWD Productions LLC. Font: Cracked. Text and design: Brian Saner Lamken.

Even as I finished up and posted my previous batch of The Walking Dead Pictogags, more were forming in my fevered brain. Some were inspired by images from the season to date lingering in my mind's eye, not all of which could be realized due to lack of photos or screencaps, while others — like the above — were entirely prompted by the photos at TWD's section of the AMC website that I scrolled through for use in the first volley. This quartet will be posted shortly over at my new Tumblr blog, an offshoot devoted purely to my graphical tinkerings.

Happy Feet

The post title is not a reference to the old jazz number, the recent animated-film franchise, nor even (my own immediate, favorite association with the term) the sudden exclamation in Steve Martin's classic stand-up routine.

No, I bring you, as you can see above, a pitch for The Charlie Brown School of Dance. Like good ol' Mark Evanier — on whose cornucopian blog News from Me I first saw the link — said, "Just watch it...". I hope you'll pass it on.

Paging Xander Harris!

Related Posts: Muppet Monday; Missing Links

Fringe Thinking:
Watching the Wheels

I have to offer my apologies for being so late with my writeup on...

... especially with Fringe having returned from a fortnight's hiatus last Friday. It airs tomorrow and next Friday, Dec. 21st, then takes another two weeks off for the holidays before returning Jan. 11th and concluding with a double-shot finale Jan. 18th — the latter presumably beginning at 8 rather than 9 p.m. ET/PT, since Fox doesn't program the 10 o'clock hour.

With only 6 hours (or "hours" — episodes run less than 45 minutes sans commercials) left in the series, I was disheartened that last week's chapter felt like such a placeholder.

It's not that nothing happened. Our team got a new piece in Walter's scavenger hunt of a puzzle, the industrial-sized electromagnet; Peter and Windmark had a minorly epic battle; Olivia talked Peter down from his precarious position atop Corruption-of-Power Falls. Yet I was strangely nonplussed, a feeling that I'm not entirely unused to having this season. The whole was less than the sum of its parts.

Meaning Less

Yesterday the Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup went up in the sidebar to indicate that posts here are backed up and slow with the going. I've been under the weather and less productive than usual lately, perhaps as a cosmic reminder not to make grand plans. On top of that, my Internet connection turned equally lethargic today.

So while things will hopefully get up to speed again soon I wanted to at least publish this note as preamble to a batch of word-verification definitions. Faithful readers are familiar with the exercise; anyone who isn't can find an explanation in "The Mean Streak", a page on the blog collecting all such entries to date.

As reflected in the title, I'm running out of content for these posts, largely because of Blogger's switch earlier this year to a different verification mechanism that prompts fewer imagined definitions from me. The next installment in this series will probably be the last.

assfu — [ass foo] n. Martial art based on literally kicking your opponent's butt.

bininsic — [bin in sik] phr. Quick explanation for lack of activity outside the home.

compery — [kom puh ree] n. Rackin' up freebies.

dectus — [dek tuss] n. A catcus as big as ten normal cacti.

Essencei™ — [eh sen say] The cologne for hard-working dojo masters. "You chop the sandalwood in half. We combine its fragrant oil with hints of strawberry and musk. Essencei."

No Guts, No Story

It occurred to me while catching up on some episode reviews of The Walking Dead after last Sunday's mid-season finale that a turn of phrase I used a couple of years ago in discussing a moment on Lost would lend itself even more perfectly to a Pictogag for a recent scene from AMC's zombie drama.

Photo from The Walking Dead 3.05 "Say the Word": Greg Nicotero 
for AMC © 2012 TWD Productions LLC. Font: Didot. Type manipulation, 
based on Absolutely Fabulous logo: Brian Saner Lamken © 2012 for Blam's Blog.

As happens with these things, I found it hard to stop with that one.

There's at least one definite spoiler in the half-dozen Pictogags that follow, so those of you who plan to watch Season Three and haven't — as well as those of you for whom the gore in the one above was more than you care to, um, stomach — should probably stop now.

42 Favorites: #11

Until my post on The Iron Giant, this fits-'n'-starts 40 41 42 Favorites series had
run in alphanumeric order — from 1980s superhero-team comics to Airplane! on through crossword puzzles. I'll probably keep with that order for the most part, but sometimes circumstances suggest breaking it. Now, for instance, is a great time to
talk about seeing movies in a theater.

If I put my shoulder into it and fortune favors me, a slew of posts on movies from
the past year will be up this month. Year's end is a time for reflection in general, but certain aspects of life (school) and pop culture in particular (the TV season, traditionally) don't fit neatly with the Gregorian calendar. Movies do — partly insofar as, film not being a largely serial medium like television is, the end of the year could fall anywhere; it's easy enough to make a list of the best movies or books or music releases in the 365 (or 366) days prior to Date X. But it also works out nicely that we get a volley of would-be blockbusters in the spring and summer months, when days are long and the air-conditioned multiplex beckons, followed by a smaller batch of commercial tentpoles amidst more serious, more intimate fare in the wintertime, when packed theaters offer a respite from the dreariness and cold. In truth many of the Oscar hopefuls don't even hit most markets until late December at the earliest, instead bridging one year to the next; this season will be no different, unless the folks misinterpreting the Mayan Long Count calendar turn out to be onto something.

There's nothing like settling into an auditorium with stadium seating as one swatch in a patchwork quilt made up of various bunches of a couple or a few or a dozen friends.