Piranesi: The Complete Etchings by Luigi Ficacci (4/10)

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I bought this on a whim when I saw the price dropped to $20. Kudos for the completeness and, if all you want is a classical architecture reference book, this book will cover that. But, if you are interested in Piranesi the printmaker and his technique, this is pretty useless. The book is tiny. All the delicate line detail is invisible. The average plate is about the size of a business card with two or three images on each page. Ridiculous.

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy (7/10)

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In the 1960s Fritz Eichenburg illustrated many classics as part of the Heritage Press series of books. This one contains around 17 excellent wood engravings and was worth reading just for that.

This is the first book by Tolstoy I have ever read. I didn’t know what to expect. The translation (Leo Weiner) was very readable and was, with the exception of the ridiculously long Russian names, pretty easy to understand.

Resurrection is about a man who discovers that an innocent girl he seduced a decade ago has been accused of murder. His actions from ten years ago are the trigger that drove her to a life of vice and crime. His mission becomes righting the wrongs of his past. The first book in the novel is fantastic as it follows his efforts to amend his wrongs and save Maslova. The last two books of the novel begin to lose focus on the narrative and concern themselves more with political ideas: the oppression of the poor and mistreatment of prisoners. As thoughtful as this commentary is, it doesn’t make for fun reading. In the end his solution is just to forgive everybody (Jeffery Dahmer would be pleased). At least I now know about Henry George’s Single Tax.

Dredd (7/10)

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There are hints of The Terminator (the first one) and Robocop in this but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of those movies. The plot is simple and it gets right into the action, skipping (I think very much intentionally) any deep character development or world building. This is all about the finely crafted slow-mo, over-the-top violence. Sure, the Judge is invincible and never misses, but the battles didn’t feel as staged and clean as in John Wick, giving it a bit more tension and keeping me interested until the end.

Sound of Noise (8/10)

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A group of avant-garde percussionists decide to go rogue and put on the ultimate performance by breaking-in to various places in order to use the sounds of the environments as instruments. By breaking-in we are talking bank heist style, masks and all. A lone, tone-deaf policeman who hates music makes it his quest to stop them. It’s all very humorous and arty and just plain fun to watch but the main plot-point that drives the climax is fantastical and keeps this from being a great movie.

Lizard in a Woman’s Skin - Wood Engraving

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The second in my series of wood engravings based on my memory of classic giallo films (see Don’t Torture a Duckling). Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is perhaps my favorite Fulci movie with an incredible soundtrack and lots of trippy visuals. This print isn’t so much a plot synopsis as it shows some of my favorite moments from the film including the dreams of the murder, the zombie-like hippies, the bat attack, and, of course, the dissected dogs.

About eight prints into the edition my printing press snapped and several important screw holes were stripped, rendering the press useless. The remainder of the edition had to be printed the old fashioned way: by hand with a wooden drawer knob.

Replacing the Battery on an Apple IIgs

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A pandemic ago I decided to heed the warnings on the Apple ][ Facebook group and remove the 30-year-old battery from my Apple IIgs computer. This is harder than it should be since Apple thought it was a good idea to permanently attach this ticking time bomb to the motherboard. My solution was to clip out the old battery and solder in a plastic battery holder instead. This is not that hard to do, but I am a complete klutz when it comes to soldering. Destroy the motherboard with a mountain of silvery metal was always a possible outcome. I documented the process and present it here. Originally I had intended to do a hilariously comic narration over the video but I eventually came to my senses. Enjoy the video, video enjoyers:

Dog Autopsy Study No. 2 - Gouache on Paper

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I did a couple of drawings/paintings in preparation for a wood engraving. As I type this, the engraving is still in progress but, if all goes well, it will be part of an ongoing series of engravings based on Italian horror movies. This image is derived from the notorious scene in A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin which had the producers of the film having to prove to an Italian court that the dogs seen in the film were an effect and not real dogs.