mark.a.pernotto

father / developer / optimist

Top 10

Nov
15

So, as a comic-book lover, I have a bit of a sacrilege to report: I felt Alan Moore’s The Watchmen was just okay. It was probably revolutionary when it was originally published by DC, and I’d consider it one of the modern ‘classics’ the genre of comic books/graphic novels.

Did I love it? No.

Did I hate it? ………No?

Since then, I’ve read V for Vendetta, which I like more, but the end seemed to drag on forever, and I was glad I was done with the book by the end of the last book in the series. This shouldn’t be.

So imagine my initial hesitation with beginning yet another Alan Moore series. This time, the first two books of his Top 10 series.

The first thing I liked about it was the premise; everyone’s a super-hero, and it’s a story about a police precinct in a medium sized city where everyone has some mystical powers. I appreciate how the characters are introduced, how everyone’s superpowers have a definition – and a weakness. Everyone pretty much knows everyone else, and the storyline does a great job balancing short and longer story arcs.

Gene Ha’s art is what sold me on the series, however. Consistent illustrations throughout the series, including detail where it didn’t necessarily need to be, and the amazing creativity displayed in the larger art. It’s art qualities like this that really gets me excited about the series on a longer term basis.

Everything is constantly moving and changing in the storyline: we’re meeting new characters, identifying new relationships and histories, new lives, deaths and everything in-between. Even in the very last cell of the very last page of the second of the 2-book series, where it says: ‘End of Season One’ – leaving open the hope of a second season?

This has renewed my interest in either reading more Alan Moore, or finding more Gene Ha graphic novels. There are a couple of candidates lined up – will keep you posted!

Docker

Nov
04

I discovered a new tool over the course of last week. It’s called Docker, and it’s an container-based application management solution. There’s a Community Edition, which is free, which allows me to install an application on my local machine and immediately begin working on that application.

I’ve never had the opportunity to play around with something like this before, but now that I’ve seen this in action, I’m hooked! I specifically like that I can declare which packages I’d like to employ and use in a single configuration file – even specifying the version of the software that I’d want to use.

What’s beautiful about this, is that I can instantly declare software that I want to use in my project, and then through a command line, add that software to my project. If I was going to add a docker-supported image to a project, I can define that image, as well as the version and the port needed. Need to use different versions of the same piece of software? Probably not a problem – but you’d need to make certain that you are addressing the correct port of the software you’d like to use.

For example, let’s say I am working on two different projects, using two different versions of MySQL. For ProjectA, I need to make the latest stable release, 5.7.20. However, for ProjectB, for whatever reason, I need to make sure that I run an older version – let’s say it’s 5.5.58. In my configuration file, I’d need to specify a different port for MySQL for ProjectB from what I used in ProjectA.

I like command-line interfaces (CLI), harkening back from my early computing/DOS days. A full list of Docker commands can be found here. But there is an application you can install to start/restart if you’d like, and there’s another application called Kitematic that serves as a GUI-enabled version of these command-line prompts.

 

Stock Image Library

Oct
16

I love taking photographs. I’m guessing, on any given day, I take probably an average of 10 photos. Sometimes it’s of my kids, sometimes it’s of my food, and sometimes – just maybe sometimes – it’s a photograph of nothing at all. While I take tons and tons of photos, few ever really stick out to me as being unique. In many cases, the photograph documents a particular moment in time, and it’s probably only useful to me.

But what I’d really like to do is share these photos – sometimes they are photos of something – a street intersection, a sunset, a flower. The photograph represents my point of view (and, in some cases, from my literal point of view), and I thought was cool.

So here you go, as long as you credit me and provide a link back to this post, you can use any of the photographs listed below for your own projects. Clicking on any of the photographs will take you to the largest image that I have of that site. Some RAW images are available – to find out which ones, please contact me.

Photo Gallery of Objects

Gallery of Textiles

East of West – Book 7

Oct
15

The seventh, and most recent, installment of the Jonathan Hickman / Nick Dragotta Image comic details the third year of the apocalypse in this end-of-civilization graphic novel series. I applaud the series for lasting this long, keeping the storyline interesting and the plot moving.

In this chapter, certain story arcs are (finally!) completed, some which have their origins in the very first book. War, Conquest and Famine make another dramatic appearance, and President Archibald Chamberlain proves slippery and as cunning as ever. At this point, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve cast each of these characters into movie roles of famous actors.

While some story arcs are closing, and it’s nice to see the book progressing, there are still certain issues that I wish were addressed a little bit more.

My Need to Read

Oct
13

I read quite a bit – er, at least I think so. I try to get in about 2 hours of reading a day. This can vary, depending on what life dictates on any given day.

The public library system where I live has a Hoopla subscription. This allows me to electronically check out up to 12 titles per month. The bulk of my reading checkouts include the comic book titles they carry.

Recently, I’ve mostly been reading through the modern collections published by Image comics and Dark Horse. I’m not particularly married to any given publisher, however. The art has to be inspiring to me, and the storyline can’t bore me to death. Frankly, many mainstream Marvel / DC titles do that all too easily.

In the past 6 months, I’ve been able to use my library’s Hoopla subscription to get caught up on:

  • East of West
  • Invincible
  • Low
  • The Beauty
  • The Woods
  • Saga

I’ll try and write up a small review of what I enjoyed about each of these titles.

Friends of mine have also turned me on to a few other titles, most recently Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run, the first run of Grant Morrisson’s Invisibles, and Jack Kirby’s Forever People.

What about you? Got any suggestions for me?

Introducing… My Ride

Oct
04

My Pake Bike

Some people get excited about cars. Others, their boats, motorcycles or skateboards. I get excited about my bikes. The first one I’d like to introduce you to is my Pake fixed gear bike.

I bought this second-hand from a guy here in town last spring. It was a really good price, and I could tell the guy didn’t want to sell it, but he knew he wouldn’t ride it as much as someone else would.

It came with a carbon fork and an extra set of handlebars. It’s a Frankenbike, for sure, but it’s mine, and I know how everything works on it. It has no brake; for those unfamiliar with fixed-gear bikes, the pedals move as the wheels do. This means that I have to use resistance in order to slow down. My wife always wanted an outlaw biker – now she has one.

I’ve gone through 2 crank arms before getting the bottom bracket replaced with something that can support my pesky stopping habits. I’ve replaced the tape on the handlebars; I prefer grip tape instead. I also replaced the chain and the seatpost broke in a most humiliating manner, so that’s been replaced as well. I’m about to swap out the old tires for some new ThickSlick tires that I just bought. After that, I should be set for a while.

I know I should be more worried about weight of the bike, but I just don’t care. My seven year old can pick this bike up with one hand. Plus, it fits my body frame, which is unusual in anything I pursue, and I’m loving the exercise a fixed-bike provides. It’s also a great commuting bike!

My primary purpose for this bike is to get into shape – because it forces me to pedal when I’m on it, I’m mostly sticking to flat parts of town with plenty of bike path. You can find my Strava feed to the right!

 

And Now, Something All Too Familiar

Oct
04

In many ways, this has been a long-time coming. It’s just a shame it’s taken so long for me to get to this point.

I really enjoy writing, and have realized over the last year or so that social media, despite the large public platform given, is not the place to showcase this love/talent/desire. But my interests grow, and I’ve always really loved the idea of keeping all of my writings in one localized, central place. I love (digital) organization, and this provides me a fantastic outlet to do just that.

The irony, of course, is that I’ve had this power for years now, but just haven’t done anything about it. I work as a web developer, and have for the past 12 years. I could have come up with a website any time that I like (unlike this).